A Rising Interest in Emergency Event Support

So, Here’s a Story (Map)

Crystal Lake Teams up with GIS to Fight Fires in Lakewood

Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department

Is it possible to save resources, improve community services, and help a fellow neighbor all at the same time? If you ask Crystal Lake, the answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!” 

 

In 2015, Crystal Lake’s neighbor, the Village of Lakewood, was in search of a new fire service provider. That summer, Lakewood approached Crystal Lake with a proposal to enlist the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department as the new provider with the caveat that the city would provide more efficient and cost-effective services.  

 

Fighting Fires With GIS 

 

Enthusiastic to help, Crystal Lake turned to its GIS program for assistance with the endeavor. To better understand if the city would be able to effectively provide this service, the fire department collaborated with the city’s GIS program to answer the following question: Can the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department respond from each station to all areas of Lakewood more effectively than the village’s current provider?  
 

Evaluating Distance Response Times

 

Crystal Lake’s GIS team created an emergency drive response time map to analyze how long it would take emergency responders to travel from the station to different areas of Lakewood. The team discovered that Crystal Lake is able to respond faster than the current provider. Upon reviewing various resources, Crystal Lake’s bid, and the drive time analysis, Lakewood chose to unite with the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department as the community’s new fire protection service provider.  

 


A New Year, A New Beginning 

 

January 1, 2016 marked the first official day of the new fire protection partnership. To ensure that the two communities made a successful transition sans service interruptions, the GIS Program developed a plan to facilitate the changeover. The GIS team and the fire department joined forces to use drive time analysis to map out ideal routes from each station to locations throughout both communities. The results and maps were shared with the staff to inform them of the new coverage area, and fire protection services were set into motion. 

By leveraging GIS and coordinating with the fire department, Crystal Lake and Lakewood combined resources and ideas to provide fire services to both communities. This collaboration enabled each community to receive efficient and effective services while saving time and resources. 

 

Take the Lead 

 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  

If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Alexandria Caputo, GIS Specialist in Crystal Lake 

 

We Will Acccomplish More Together Than We Will On Our Own!

A forum of managers in local government in northern Illinois, the Leadership Roundtable, came together in early 2015 to generate a list of common problems they could solve together.  As the list of project ideas grew one of them quickly floated to the top of the list.  As a result, the managers prioritized a project that would enhance service by improving communication between residents and the municipality.

Next, the managers authored a charter document that outlined clear outcomes for the project, and then selected their top Thought Leaders to participate on an innovation team who would work together to achieve the desired outcome.

In 4 months’ time the team…

  • used the innovation process
  • wrote user stories
  • issued a Request for Information (RFI)
  • short-listed five vendors
  • conducted interviews and demonstration
  • created a presentation
  • presented their recommendation to the managers of the Leadership Roundtable. 

 

The team’s recommendation was to partner with a solution provider they found would achieve the outcomes of the charter best.  The recommendation to implement a Citizen Service Request system has been accepted by 14 communities and we expect that number to keep growing.  The communities are now in the process of negotiating collectively with the vendor of choice to obtain the best possible outcomes.  Implementation of the solution will begin in the first quarter of 2016. 

We will accomplish more together than we will on our own!

Know the Flow: Who Has Residential Sprinklers

During a fire event, a sprinkler system is a key ally in battling the blaze and minimizing the damage. The City of Park Ridge, IL understands this firsthand and requires any new construction be equipped with a fire sprinkler system. While a long-time standard for commercial structures, this now includes residential buildings. 

Sprinkler information was traditionally tracked in a spreadsheet. However, locating a particular address wasn’t an easy or robust process, and not all staff members had direct access. As a result, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office was asked to devise a more effective way of delivering this information to staff.

GIS created a MapOffice™ Web Access Business Intelligence connection that references residential sprinkler locations throughout the city. Now when staff want to determine whether or not a residential sprinkler is installed at a home, all they do is type in an address when the connection is on. They can then click a point on the map and the spreadsheet information attributed to that address can be quickly accessed.

This is a great example of how GIS can connect with address-based tabular data and make information immediately accessible to those who need it.

Adopt a Hydrant Seeks A Flood of Interest

Like many municipalities, the Village of Mundelein, IL Fire Department operates an "adopt a hydrant" program. This creative community concept lets residents select a hydrant of their choice and fill out a form to formally adopt it. By adopting the hydrant, the resident agrees to clear snow and shrubbery away from it – improving visibility and enhancing the safety of the neighborhood during a fire event.

The Mundelein fire department wanted to make it easy for residents to locate hydrants near their homes. They hoped that as hydrants are displayed online, more residents will be encouraged to adopt them. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) created a layer of hydrants that were added as a custom display layer in the village’s browser-based, interactive mapping application, MapOffice™.  The layer delineated which hydrants were adopted and which were available.  All residents had to do was click on a hydrant to see its address, and then click on a link to access the adoption form.

The interactive map dramatically improved access and status of village hydrants. Now residents simply type an address, see the available hydrant closest to their house, and fill out an adoption form online. With dozens of hydrants seeking a "residential caretaker", the Village of Mundelein is hoping for a flood of interest this year.

Integrating the City’s Permit Program with GIS

Every community looks for ways to streamline operations to improve its productivity when serving the public. One way of doing this is to incorporate other application programs a community uses with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For the City of Park Ridge, IL Community, Preservation, and Development department this involved looking to GIS to access information from their permits program through the city’s browser-based GIS program, MapOffice™. 

To start this process, a connection was created between the permits program and MapOffice™. Once the connection was made, the relevant data fields that would be displayed had to be decided on by community staff. In the end, only a small percentage of the available fields were chosen showing only basic information such as permit number, type of permit, important dates, and owner information. Once this was all setup, it was ready to be accessed by community staff. In order to use this tool, staff would use the Business Intelligence by Address task in MapOffice™ to select an address on the map. Once the address was selected, a popup window with all permitting information related to that address would be displayed, and the user could get the information that he or she was looking for.

By having this new connection between GIS and the permits program, a village staff member can now locate pertinent information regarding permits without actually having to open up the permits program. This increases customer response time either on the phone or in person when a resident is going through the permitting process. Another advantage with this setup is that additional information can be added or removed quickly and easily, based on a request from a user.  The hope around the city is that this is the first of many programs that GIS can integrate with to make staff more efficient.