Brownsville Fire Department Switches to New Computer System

By JOSÉ BORJÓN
The Brownsville Herald

December 14, 2006 — The Brownsville Fire Department has switched to a new computer system that officials hope will better serve residents of the city.

Assistant Fire Chief David Hinojosa said the new $500,000 Spillman Fire Module Computer System has been in place since Tuesday, and so far, it has worked well.
The police department also uses the same system, Hinojosa said.

The computer keeps track of each firefighter's training, background, expertise, absences and respective certifications, Hinojosa said.

In case of a fire that requires specialized attention, the system will be able to pinpoint which hazardous materials team members are on duty, he said.

Hazmat firefighter technicians have special training, he said.

The department had to purchase new computers for the fire stations, Hinojosa said. In the next three months, all fire trucks and emergency medical service units will have laptop computers on them, he said.

(The laptops) will tell them were exactly they should go,” he said. They will give them the quickest direction to the scene of an accident.”

The Spillman Fire Module Computer system will also allow the department to exactly see what units are available, what units are busy, how long they have been busy and their locations.”

This is an upgrade in our system that will be a tremendous asset….” Hinojosa said.

The computer system will also enhance the department.

It will enhance (the department's) emergency communications system to a very high level of professionalism, response, patient care and provide an overall a safer and well protected environment,” he said.

Hinojosa feels the department is making good progress.

I foresee that this department is advancing to a level, compared to major cities that have similar technologies in place,” he said.

jborjon@brownsvilleherald.com