THE COUNTRY FIRE AUTHORITY, Victoria, Australia's rural fire agency has charged Apple Maps with providing dangerous and inaccurate maps on their FireReady bushfire information app.
Screen cap of the FireReady app
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
The FireReady app was forced to use Apple Maps, CFA said, but the maps were inaccurate and "Macedon and a number of other Victorian towns are located incorrectly".
"Users report that towns are located on their maps at the centre of the district rather than on the actual township itself," a CFA spokesman said.
Marcel Theunissen from Mt Rael in the Yarra Valley said his local CFA "fireguard" bushfire safety community group and others in the region had made "many complaints" about the Apple Maps lack of detail and errors in the CFA FireReady app.
"One of the problems with Apple Maps is that they don't show the names of cities and townships at all times," said Theunissen.
"This makes it very difficult to quickly determine the exact location of fires once alarm calls are being received. This creates potentially dangerous situations and delays to activate phone trees if required."
The CFA has advised its volunteers to disregard the place names on the app map, but instead go by street names when possible. They also urge their users to use Google map apps. When the Apple Australia maps were issued last September they were already riddled with inaccurate town and place locations, and even had the Sydney Apple Store in the wrong place. Recently the Victoria Police had to lead several motorists out of a national park after being led into it by Apple Maps instead of the town they wished to go to which is 70 kilometers away.
BOEING AIRCRAFT ENGINEERS are trying to find the best way to get WiFi signals to "propagate" through a populated aircraft cabin. Responding to requests for cooperation by the major cellphone and internet providers, the engineers in Boeing's Test and Evaluation laboratory are conducting experiments in actual airplane cabins and simulating the passenger load by filling the seats with 20,000 lbs. of bagged potatoes.
The tubers mimic the way the human body responds to electronic signals, so engineers at Boeing's Test & Evaluation Laboratory used the spud-filled plane to try out the new methods without requiring hundreds of people to sit in the aircraft.
Once the engineers had the methods down, they were able to replace the starchy veggies and validate the data with humans.
Boeing says the procedures it developed can reduce the time it takes to test wireless signals from two weeks to just 10 hours.
"One of the wonderful aspects of our improved testing is that we can describe both strong and weak signals with incredible accuracy," Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler said in a statement to CNN. "Engineers who are concerned primarily with operational safety of an airplane can see if the strong signals are safe for the airplane's communication and navigation systems. Meanwhile, an engineer who is concerned with getting every passenger a really good network signal can see if the weak signals are propagating through the airplane with enough power to provide a good usability experience."
The Register, an IT publication in UK, provided this very informative video on Boeing's experiment and what they are trying to learn:
Hey, Ma! My promotion to "Balloonist" Came Through!
FROM THE "IT LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER" department comes another brilliant idea from a government agency, this time the Federal Communications Commission. And you know all about "great ideas" that bubble up from government agencies. The problem they want to address is the failure of the wireless telephone and communications services after hurricanes breeze through and leave their cell towers non-functioning for whatever reasons. Somebody has sold them on the notion that a remedy would be to dangle wireless antennae from balloons or maybe trailing behind drones.
Gerry Smith, the Tech Column writer for Huffington Post penned:
The Federal Communications Commission is exploring the use of such airborne technology to restore communications after disasters. Beaming 3G or Wi-Fi signals from the sky may be especially useful to emergency responders in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, when repair crews are unable reach damaged equipment because roads and bridges are impassible, experts said.
"It sounds futuristic, but the technology is absolutely there," said Daniel M. Devasirvatham, a chief technology officer at Science Applications International Corp.
This spring, the Federal Communications Commission asked for public comments on the potential for deploying wireless networks via small drones or weather balloons, saying it could "further strengthen and enhance the security and reliability of the nation's communications infrastructure."
"We know this technology can work," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement in May. Genachowski added it "would have been remarkably useful" after Hurricane Katrina, when dozens of 911 call centers were inoperable and more than 3 million customers lost telephone service.
It goes without saying that a large percentage of those 3 million victims also lost their cell phones as well, so they were unable to call for pizza delivery anyway. Mr. Smith goes on to tell us that the military has used this technology to set up temporary networks in remote combat zones, and FEMA has supposedly used it to dangle broadband antennae for internet connections to be used by wildland firefighters and a few other temporary needs of emergency crews.
But when it comes to integrating the various radio signals of compteting cellphone providers, well, you have problems. But the ballooon makers and drone builders say they can do it, yeah!
Look at both sides of the controversy by reading the entire, well-written article in the HuffPost HERE.
This has been tried before, by the way.
Thanks to Mark D. for dangling this bit of science overhead for us.
IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT 30 years ago the word "emoticon" was not part of the English popular vocabulary. But in September 1982 that, and American culture, changed forever. A report from the UK Independent tells us:
Their birth can be traced to the precise minute: 11:44am on 19 September 1982. At that moment, Professor Scott Fahlman, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, sent an email on an online electronic bulletin board that included the first use of the sideways smiley face: "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: Read it sideways."
Professor Scott Fahlman
The aim was simple: to allow those who posted on the university's bulletin board to distinguish between those attempting to write humorous emails and those who weren't. Professor Fahlman had seen how simple jokes were often misunderstood and attempted to find a way around the problem.
The professor, a computer science researcher who still works at the university, says he is amazed his smiley face took off: "This was a little bit of silliness that I tossed into a discussion about physics," he says. "It was ten minutes of my life. I expected my note might amuse a few of my friends, and that would be the end of it."
And as you well know, it led to an explosion of Smiley-like emoticons that were devised to transmit scores of different emotional ideas.
It's a little belated, but the GeezerGang wants to join in and wish Smiley a happy and prosperous 30th birthday.
FOUR MEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS, FIREFIGHTERS have been given disciplinary actions for their parts in a dispatching error on July 13 in which a medical patient died.
The call was received shortly after midnight while the station crew was asleep. The fire alarm operator should have toned out the engine company, but instead he only dispatched them over the radio. In Medford each onduty FF has their own radio that, according to the FD Rules, "….serves as a fail-safe in the event other forms of communication are off line." However in this incident, the radios were turned down too low to be heard.
The police and the city's ambulance service Armstrong Ambulance responded and were on the scene. For some reason, the fire alarm operator logged in that the FD was also on the scene when they weren't.
It was announced by the fire chief's office yesterday that the alarm operator has been suspended without pay for two weeks. The three firefighters were given written reprimands.
The president of the firefighters Local issued a statement that said, "The Medford firefighters take this issue very seriously. The firefighters involved are devastated. We are committed to working with the department to ensure this never happens again."
FAMED DISPATCH SCANNER AND RECORDIST "RADIOMAN" has shed his anonymnity. After 3+ years of monitoring and live-streaming fire activity in the greater Chicago area, he has decided to let the masses know his real moniker is Dave Weaver.
Dave has a great service set up for anybody interested in emergency incidents by webcasting the dispatch and working channels of fire incidents. He's very efficient, too. When you log on to http://justin.tv/radioman911 you will notice right away that there are separate channels coming out of each of your computer stereo speakers. More coverage for you that way. From his website he tells us:
The feed is based in Chicago and uses a combination of remote receive sites to enhance our range and provide the best wide area coverage possible. We monitor fire dispatches from all across Chicagoland. Site supporters volunteer their time to the listener community by posting info and updates about major fires and incidents.
Radioman911.com is a live stereo mix monitoring the Chicago Fire Department and every FD within 36 neighboring counties across 4 states. (Except Aurora, Hammond, and Naperville) We cover all mutual aid and interop channels including IFERN and all firegrounds.
The feed consists of 5 radios located in downtown Chicago and 3 located in the far suburbs. Incident information is provided on the incident board in CAD style by volunteer supporters of the site.
Radioman911.com streams high quality 128k stereo audio along with a 200k video display that shows 6 of the 8 radios that make up the mix. Radios and scanners in the mix full time are located in 5 locations; Radioman911 HQ in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, 1000ft up in the John Hancock Center, 250ft up on towers in both DeKalb and Joliet, and from rooftops in Lansing and St. Charles. Additional rooftop receive sites are located in Summit and Midlothian. A special thank you goes to our remote feed hosts who improve our reception and extend our coverage area.
Now you know that he's not some dweeb with a couple of Radio Shack portable scanners duct-taped to a board. He was featured on a Channel 7, WLS-TV news report last week covering the violent NATO protests in downtown Chicago.
Dave's first 15 minutes of fame are shown in this tv report and he makes his appearance at the 0:58 mark. Go ahead and watch the entire 4:13 of the video, it's a good report:
He tells us: All 4 days are great listening and many include video to reference the activities being handled. But day 3 is some of the most incredible audio that we have ever streamed on Radioman911.com and was featured on the ABC7 Chicago 10 PM News.
So get your popcorn, sit back and listen, and say "Hi" to Dave. (just click on the links)
Fourteen months into retirement I am teaching a Fire Officer II class at the Reagan National Airport fire station. The classroom is also their kitchen. The kitchen has a television.
The acting battalion chief steps in, apologizes for the interruption, and turns the television on.
Good Morning America (ABC) is covering the breaking news of a plane that has hit the World Trade Center.
As the news camera focuses on the entry hole, many of the experienced air-crash-rescue guys are speculating on what type of plane hit the tower and the issues facing FDNY.
After a dozen minutes I try to restart the class. Agree to leave the television on with the sound turned down. I get one or two sentences out when we see the second plane hitting the tower.
You do not need a Formal Announcement to Mobilize
As FDNY Firefighter James Hanlon (Ladder 1) points out in the opening of the Naudet Brothers documentary 9|11:
… there were days we would go to the Trade Center five times in a single shift. My point is, we knew those towers as well as anybody. But nobody, nobody, expected September 11th.
When the civilian editors of Fire-Rescue Magazine and Journal of EMS were vetting my article, Attack on the Pentagon: The Initial Fire and EMS Response (April 2002 issue), they struggled with the concept that hundreds of emergency responders initiated action without receiving a formal notification.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire Department never expected a 757 to be used as an assault weapon against the Pentagon. When the second plane struck in New York, the dozen off-duty members attending the Fire Officer class joined the 16 on-duty members preparing for the unknown.
They were not alone.
Most of the senior staff and urban search and rescue commanders in my department started purposeful action when they heard of the second plane in New York City. The information came through radio and television, informal digital networks and word-of-mouth.
Rapidly deploying 72 USAR members and 75 tons of equipment
It takes dedicated action by dozens of staff, support and non-USAR firefighters to make a deployment happen.
A point of pride is the ability to assemble the team well within the response deadline for domestic and international response. A deployment represents an administrative five alarm event.
A small role I had while assigned as a company officer at the Fire and Rescue Academy was to respond from home to get the facility unlocked on evenings, weekends and holidays. The Academy, with six classrooms and a large training bay, is the point of staging and assembly for the team.
Far from high tech. The tasks included moving apparatus out of the bay, properly configuring the "quad" – a large space with movable walls to create smaller class spaces, and powering up the facility.
Have to do Something
Ten years ago I also had a part-time job as a civilian Fire Instructor III at the Fire and Rescue Academy.
American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon shortly after I left the airport.
I was stunned. What could I do? No fire gear in the car, not in uniform, my "retired" fire department ID card did not provide KardKey access to headquarters or communications.
Headed for the Academy. Maybe they are assembling a fire crew with Engine 407. I was at the Academy in 1982 when we loaded up a Suburban with EMS gear and responded in near-blizzard conditions to the Air Florida 90 crash at the 14th Street bridge.
Not this time. All of the on-duty uniformed staff are away, either responding to the Pentagon or the anticipated USAR deployment. None of the remaining staff experienced a USAR deployment.
I looked up in time to see the South Tower collapse on live TV.
Purposeful Action – Setting the Academy for USAR deployment
No more wondering what to do.
Without asking for authorization, started moving academy apparatus out of the high bay building and up the hill. Configured the quad. Tried to set up the communications equipment, but no one had the key to the cabinet.
Before the 11 am official federal mobilization notice, the academy was ready …
… and I was on my way home, satisfied that I did something worthwhile in reaction to the unthinkable.
An Inherent Orientation to Action
Emergency service folks are hard-wired to take action.
To validate the impact of our Citizen CPR program we tried to identify the background of every person who performed CPR prior to the arrival of the department. More than half of the citizen responders were off-duty or former police, fire, ems and health care staff.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that, while I was stricken with disbelief and inaction, Jeff was figuring how he could help.
It was clear in the few minutes we were in the plaza that thousands of people had and would continue to be injured. There were many police, fire and EMS squads arriving at the scene and it was toward these and the injured that Jeff was headed the last time I saw him.
Frankly, there was no other reason for him to go towards the World Trade Center. His hotel, work site and safety were in the opposite direction.
With the second plane hitting the tower, Jeff would have been thinking about the increased number of casualties. I believe Jeff was caught in the collapse of the towers.
I do not know if he was inside the towers or working at one of the triage stations that had been set up close to the towers. In either case, he was doing what he was trained to do and spent his final hours helping the victims," stated Joseph T. Finnegan.
To be attributed to a London Ambulance Service spokesperson:
"We are currently still using our manual system for managing 999 calls; this involves recording calls on paper and passing information to ambulance crews over the radio.
"We switched to this system earlier today (8 June) after we experienced technical issues with a new 999 computer system that we introduced last night.
"We have now decided that we will revert back to using our original computer system while the issues with the new system are being resolved; we will do this in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
“Our priority remains to answer all incoming 999 calls, giving priority to those patients with the most serious illnesses and injuries.
“We would ask people to use their ambulance service wisely at this time and consider where else they may be able to get medical help if it is not an emergency, for example NHS Direct, walk-in centres or minor injuries units.”
- Ends -
A similar problem occured in 1992.
From this University College London online course by Ian Sommerville:
The London Ambulance Service introduced a new computer-aided despatch system in 1992 which was intended to automate the system that despatched ambulances in response to calls from the public and the emergency services.
This new system was extremely inefficient and ambulance response times increased markedly.
Shortly after its introduction, it failed completely and LAS reverted to the previous manual system.
The systems failure was not just due to technical issues but to a failure to consider human and organisational factors in the design of the system.
Fayette County Public Service Building (Google Street View)
A FAYETTE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, MAN is in jail after being arrested Tuesday night and charged with 2,760 counts relating to six charges involving 9-1-1 abuse.
Chad Everett Cooper, 21, was picked up by a Uniontown police detective after the supervisor of the county emergency dispatch center reported a series of abusive phone calls to 9-1-1 over a period of 17 days, April 14 to May 1. The Tribune-Reviewreports:
Detective Donald Gmitter this morning said Cooper used a cell phone to make the calls. "He would call and ask the dispatchers what kind of panties they had on, whether they were thongs, and ask them questions about sex," Gmitter said. The police then used GPS tracking coordinates provided by the 911 center to narrow the caller`s location to a Masontown address. With that information, along with other details provided by the cell-phone manufacturer, police were able to identify Cooper.
When police confronted Cooper late Tuesday at his residence, Gmitter said Cooper had the cell phone in his pocket. Police used the phone to call 911, which confirmed it as the one used to make the calls, Gmitter said.
After questioning him, Cooper admitted that he had made the calls. He was then arraigned on 445 counts each of stalking; harassment involving acts of lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene language; harassment for making anonymous calls; harassment with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person; obstructing the administration of law and disorderly conduct.
Do you remember from early March when we mentioned new devices that will bring broadband internet to remote areas? It had to do with little cellphone receivers that can be stuck on a utility pole and serve a neighborhood, or a rural homestead, and eliminate the need for those monster cell-towers with a dozen antennae on them. (The story about the LightRadioCube is HERE.)
Along the same subject, a few days ago AT&T released information about a development that will be useful to emergency services, especially USAR teams. Officially called a Remote Mobility Zone, they describe it as a "cell tower in a suitcase" and one of the many uses for it would be a means of internet and phone hookup in remote and/or disaster areas that don't have wireless service. The device comes packaged in a small container along with a separate satellite-reciever dish and requires an outside power source, something that all FD's have anyway.
Instead of waiting for local cellphone providers to get to your location and set up a temporary cell tower, the RMZ permits you to set up shop right away and establish links to the outside world for both internet and phone service. It can handle up to 14 simultaneous phone calls and has internet downloading ability, however it's a lower speed than broadband. But at least you get connected.
Because of its convenient size, it can be carried (or mounted) in a car. Initially, the cost of one of these will range from $15,000 to $45,000 depending on amenities. Also those pesky "monthly fees," but I'm sure that all those costs will be negotiable. One drawback is that the things only work in areas where AT&T already has coverage, but you can bet that the competition will soon meet that inconvenience with their own service.
There are a couple of other levels of coverage available including a mounted arrangement for things like mobile command centers that are covered in AT&T's press release that you can READ HERE.
Now let's activate our Mobile Equipment Check operation and get our apparatus and equipment ready for the day. I'm going to download another pot of coffee to keep everybody healthy and then we'll meet back in the day room later.
* * * * * * *
NHL Playoffs – Quarter Final Round
Tuesday brought a lot of drama to the playoffs with Chicago mounting a near-impossible comeback against Vancouver, taking their game to overtime, and Montreal edging out Boston to force a game-seven tonight. After tonight's games in Boston and Pittsburgh, the first round will be completed and the field halved to eight teams. Here are last night's results and a bit of video replay:
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Chicago Black Hawks — Canucks – 2, Hawks – 1 OT. Vancouver wins series 4-3.
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Los Angeles Kings — San Jose wins series 4 -2 and advances to next round.
(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes — Detroit wins series 4-0 and advances to next round.
(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators — Nashville wins series 4-2 and advances to next round.
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) New York Rangers — Washington wins series 4-1 and advances to next round.
(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres — Flyers – 5, Sabres – 2. Philadelphia wins series 4-3 and advances to next round.
(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Montreal Canadiens — Canadiens – 2, Bruins – 1. Series tied 3-3. Deciding game Wednesday night.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning — Series tied 3-3. Deciding game Wednesday night.
TWO YEARS AGO IT WAS recognized that the second generation of satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS) would begin deteriorating due to age and would need to be replaced soon. It was decided at that time to use the opportunity to upgrade the accuracy of the system and modernize the program and signals.
The first of the replacement satellites, built by Boeing, was launched into orbit last August and has been functioning fully since then while tests were run to see if all the "stuff" worked ok. The new series called GPS IIF (or GPS 2F) will add 12 satellites orbiting in the array. Space Daily tells us:
(This) first GPS IIF was set healthy to navigation and timing users worldwide, Aug.26, 2010. To-date, the satellite is performing its navigation mission well and its atomic clock's performance is the best seen on-orbit.
The GPS IIF satellites provide enhanced military signals that are more resistant to jamming, greater accuracy through advanced atomic clock technology, a new third civil signal for safety-of-life applications and a longer design life of 12 years.
The GPS constellation is the strongest it's ever been with 31 satellites currently on-orbit. The addition of the first IIF SV and the on-track production of the GPS IIIA SVs demonstrate the Air Force's commitment to maintaining GPS as the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing information.
The accuracy in determing actual position in civil use will be noticeably improved. Currently the noted positions from personal devices is accurate to about 20 feet. The newer satellites will narrow that down to about 2 to 3 feet, virtually spot-on.
Artist's rendering of the GPS IIF space vehicle (NASA image)
The second GPS 2F has been delivered to Cape Canaveral and is being loaded and prepared for launch from a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket later this summer.
For a good description and review of the history of the GPS satellites and the configurations of the different classes, READ THIS article from Kowoma.de.
THE MOBILE, ALABAMA, FIRE DEPARTMENT is phasing in a dispatch system where the radio dispatch transmissions are being broadcast by an automated digital voice.
The new system has been utilized on a trial basis for the past month and is now being brought online for full operation. The call-takers and dispatchers still function as always with the call-taker entering the info. into the computer, sending it to the fire dispatcher who reviews the call and initiates the proper response. What's different is that instead of the dispatcher following up with a vocal over the radio, an automated voice takes over and announces the dispatch.
Fire Chief Stephen Dean indicates on this video report that the procedure does not eliminate any jobs, but instead assures a consistent tone and diction to the "radio voice." Watch WALA-TV Ch. 10's report:
Firegeezer says: Always cynical, especially when major expenditures are committed without any savings, I am wondering out loud.
1) If the dispatchers' diction and "accents" are a problem, wouldn't hiring a tutor be a lot cheaper than purchasing this equipment and new software?
2) Is the City admitting that they are employing people to talk on the radio who are not qualified to talk on the radio?
3) Surely a department with a dispatch system this sophisticated has computer terminals in the cabs of the apparatus that display the address and details in printed format. If that's the case, then the "accent" problem is overriden.
4) Saves time? Come on…..
5) I'll bet you that the vendor who sold Mobile on this system convinced them that this could lead to eventually eliminating positions and relying on the computer for more and more phases of the call-taking and dispatch functions.
There's probably more to this story that we haven't been told yet.
Tuesday Morning – Take Time to Thank Your Dispatcher
Our friend Tim McMenamin is the Director of the Routt County (Colorado) Communications Center and he is reminding us that this week is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. This event is marked each year during the second full week of April, and here we are.
I spent a very enlightening and enjoyable year in dispatch and our motto was "We catch every fire." And that's true. That's where every call begins, however the information is relayed to the emergency services, and it is always funneled through the emergency communications center to be properly dispatched and kept connected with the public safety section until the incident is completed.
Fountain Valley PD photo
Bill Carrow, president of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) sent out this announcement:
This week is set aside in order to honor the hard work and dedication of our public safety telecommunications professionals. The personnel receiving emergency calls constantly deal with the public in their most dire of times. Radio dispatch personnel ensure that appropriate equipment and personnel are alerted and respond to the scene. They also maintain surveillance over first responders in the field, acting as their life-line to ensure they make it to the scene and back safely.
Our call-takers and dispatchers are truly the first of the first responders, because without them no fire apparatus, police cars or ambulances would be dispatched. They act as the vital link in the chain.
During this week, we also honor the technicians that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, the trainers that provide basic and remedial instruction to our communications staff and the supervisors, managers and directors that guide the daily operations in centers across the country.
While I'm sure that all of the 9-1-1 centers are aware of this and sharing stories and perhaps a cake or two, many firefighters and paramedics in the field might not have heard about this. So take a moment today to call your dispatcher and thank them for their efforts in providing the proper foundation for every emergency. A pat on the back is always appreciated.
Now let's pat our pumpers and ambulances, getting them checked out and ready for the day. I'm going to make some more coffee and listen to the department radio. See you back in the day room. Later we can check out Dispatch Magazine OnlineHERE and APCO's website HERE.
IN RECENT YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN several instances where small-town citizens have started complaining about those pesky fire sirens making those horrible noises whenever one of their neighbors has an emergency and needs help. And when the local VFD builds a new firehouse in a different location, a war breaks out when they start constructing a tower for the house siren. Getting the Yuppies’ permission to erect a tower for your siren is a difficult struggle at best.
But fear not, a possible solution may have been discovered by an upstart cellphone company called NextG Networks. Their game plan came to light last week in Mt. Sinai, New York (Long Island), when the Demarco family came home one evening and found a 40-ft. metal pole sticking out of their front yard. They soon learned that within a few days there would be a platform placed on the top with an array of cellphone equipment on it.
Apparently NextG had applied for a permit to erect their mini-tower, but the town of Brookhaven had not approved it. So, going on the presumption that since the permit was never denied, then it would be ok to build it, up it went.
Watch WABC-TV’s video report on what happened next:
NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock checked in to the international space station, hence unlocking the “NASA Explorer Badge.”
You are now 220 miles above the Earth traveling at 17,500 mph and unlocked the NASA Explorer Badge!
Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream.
Unlocked by Douglas W. on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM.
From Adam Ostrow at Mashable/Social Media:
The outerspace checkin officially kicks off a partnership between Foursquare and NASA, with NASA’s new Foursquare page offering a list of the venues where you can unlock the badge. Users will also get tips about those venues when they check in using their mobile device.
As an interesting related note, I moderated a panel earlier this year at TWTRCON New York with Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, who was asked by someone in the audience from NASA what they had to do to get a badge (a frustration for many brands), which drew a few chuckles from the crowd. Crowley answered something to the effect of “do something really unique,” and it would seem that’s what ultimately has transpired several months later.
NASA has been fairly ambitious in its own right when it comes to social media, however. Astronauts have been tweeting from space since 2009.
A TROJAN-HORSE COMPUTER VIRUS swept through offices, including many major corporations and government agencies, Thursday afternoon. The virus is called “Here You Have” because that is how the link is titled on the email that arrives at your computer.
The Here You Have message arrives in an email generated from one of your correspondents who has you in their address file. If you click on the link, it takes over your computer flooding it with thousands of inbox items and then starts using your address book to send out thousands more using your name.
ABC News ran a report on it Thursday evening and they show you the virus in action:
For over seven years, FireFeeds provided live fire audio offering exclusive feeds that no other service could provide. We believe you will enjoy what Radio Reference has to offer. Service is free of charge and offers many live public safety feeds.
The staff of FireFeeds greatly appreciates your business and would like to thank you for your loyalty.
Fire Feeds Support Staff
From Lindsay C. Blanton III, President at RadioReference.com LLC: The firefeeds.com team put out this announcement today. We are working closely with those feed providers at firefeeds that wish to make the transition over to RadioReference.com.
WE HOPE YOU HAVE BEEN CHECKING IN with the Firefighter Netcast channel (HERE) and catching up with the back-netcasts that are archived and ready for downloading.
Last week they had an interesting interview with a couple of nice ladies who are both publishers of fire blogs relating to their experiences as wives of career firefighters, Shari Simpson (Two In, Two Out) and Jenna Hatfield (Stop Drop and Blog). CLICK HERE to read more about them and get the link to either download or listen to the netcast.
The Firefighter Netcast hosts, Rhett Fleitz (The Fire Critic) and John Mitchell (Fire Daily) set up shop at last month’s Firehouse Expo in Baltimore and recorded more than a dozen interviews with people who are prominent in the fire and EMS community.
During the upcoming weeks, we’ll be hearing these interviews over the web, but there is one interview that I’m afraid we’ll never get to hear. As you probably know, F. G. Gnome was at the Firegeezer/STATter911 booth all three days and the Netcast Guys invited F.G. to be interviewed. He literally jumped at the chance and leapt up onto the broadcast table and began jabbering, like he does sometimes, completely ignoring the questions that Rhett and John had for him. Well, he IS a gnome, you know.
Despite the hosts attempts to rein F. G. in and get an intelligent report on his life as a fire gnome, the whole thing just fell apart as F. G. really got wound up and went off the deep end. Finally, Rhett and John had to just give up and scrub the show.
That’s too bad because there are a lot of people who would love to have heard the squeaky voice of our official gnome. When I asked F. G. what went wrong and why he failed to communicate effectively, he told me: “Ahhhh…. it was all those guys’ fault! They just don’t understand the Gnomenclature!”
That’s what I’ve got to work with, folks. The sacrifices that we have to make in order to bring you the Firegeezer news and events.
You can catch up on our previous Firegeezer Gnome reports HERE.
WHEN 49-YR.-OLD Vincent T. Chodkowski of Carmel, Maine, began having a heart attack, he pulled onto the front ramp of Bangor FD’s station 6 hoping to find help. Instead, the station was empty while the crew was at station 1 for a scheduled training session. A passer-by saw the victim laying on the ground and called for help.
Station 6 entrance
When to police and firefighters arrived, Chodkowski was already dead. He was driving a passenger van that transports people who are mentally disabled and still had one passenger on board.
Bangor Fire Chief Jeff Cammack says that the department will take immediate steps to place some method of calling 9-1-1 next to the front door of each station. Watch this video update from WCSH-TV Ch. 6:
THAT’S THE TITLE OF A NEW FACEBOOK “Organization” page that was launched just a few hours ago.
Throughout the day and evening on Friday, Facebook friends were logging on and finding a mell of a hess on their Facebook page. Instead of leading off with the listings of the most recent postings of their friends, they were getting random selections of posts that were inserted as many as 16 hours previously.
The only way you could get the expected listings was to click around on the index and found “Status Updates” which had to be clicked every time you log on.
So the inevitible happened…..a “friend”ly revolution was born and the Change Facebook Back to Normal !! group was spawned. Apparently this bomb has really touched a lot of nerves because when I first found it at 11 am it already had 123,000 members. Now here it is at 11:45 and the membership roster is up to 145,000 members. Go Team, Go!
I was glad to join and put in my 2¢ worth. Will the “New Facebook” go the way of the “New Coke”? Maybe we’ll find out in a few days. The peasants have grabbed their pitchforks and are manning the barricades.
We all carry cell phones with names & numbers stored in their memory .. but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.
If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn’t know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? Hence this ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) Campaign.
The concept of ‘ICE’ is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name ‘ICE’ ( In Case Of Emergency).
The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients, but they didn’t know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as ‘ICE.’
For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc. A great idea that will make a difference!
Let’s spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our mobile phones today! Please forward this. It won’t take too many ‘forwards’ before everybody will know about this . It really could save your life, or put a loved one’s mind at rest .
Los Angeles Fire Department is not as enthusiastic, here is their 2005 response.(click HERE). The key point from LAFD:
The Los Angeles Fire Department supports the original ICE concept as a free and potentially helpful tool in the minutes and hours that follow an emergency.
Contrary to several chain e-mail warnings, ICE is not something that Paramedics rush to look for the instant they arrive at an emergency, and is certainly not required in order for LAFD Paramedics to provide quick, focused and compassionate emergency care.
We tell people: Add ICE contact information in your cell phone only after you’ve affixed similar information to (or near) the official photo identification you routinely carry in your wallet.
THE INGRAINED PROBLEMS OF THE FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, emergency dispatch center have led to the first defection from their coverage area.
The city of Milton in the north side of Fulton County announced Saturday that beginning October 1 they will have their fire, police and ambulance dispatching handled through the Alpharetta 911 Center.
Disclosing that they have been planning this since December, Milton public safety director Chris Lagerbloom said that they signed the agreement earlier this month before the recent debacle at Fulton 911 (STATter911 report HERE) where an incompetent dispatcher sent an ambulance to the wrong address 35 miles away from a woman needing assistance. She later died.
“Some of the catastrophic failures we’ve seen further solidify that we’ve made the right choice,” Lagerbloom said. He also pointed out that the Alpharetta center has GPS technology working already that locates and dispatches the nearest units on all calls. Additionally, the cost to Milton will be $100,000 annually less than they are paying now.
Milton and Alpharetta have also implemented a mutal-aid pact where the nearest units of any emergency, regardless of jurisdiction, will be dispatched. Milton’s ambulance service is provided by the private firm Rural/Metro.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the complete STORY.
Atlanta’s largest EMS provider, Grady Hospital, has already removed all of their dispatching from Fulton. This AP video report covers the situation:
WHILE RESEARCHING A POLICE INCIDENT THAT HAPPENED IN FEBRUARY, Nashville, Tennessee, TV station WTVF came across an unusual 911 recording.
They were looking into a botched police call where it took three hours to get an officer to assist a woman who was being threatened by her boyfriend who was wielding a knife.
During the three hours waiting, she called the 911 center dozens of times begging for help. One of her last calls was answered by a probationary employee who, after the call was terminated but the mic was still live, muttered: “I don’t give a (crap) what happens to you.”
He was fired shortly after that night.
WTVF has the full story HERE.
This AP video report plays the tape: