Fire Grid Map Product Development


The primary responsibility of all local government public safety
agencies is to understand the location and extent of their designated
response coverage areas, especially when it comes to providing mutual
aid support across municipal boundaries. In many cases, knowing this
information before responding to an emergency call can make the
difference between a response ending in success and a response ending in
tragedy. For the Village of Winnetka, IL Fire department a recent
change to their response coverage grid numbering system lead them to
collaborate with the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
department to redesign the department fire grid map that is used both
internally by department staff and provided to surrounding communities
to assist with mutual aid support.

The primary component of the map redesign was to determine the new
grid numbers and to update the grid boundaries to accurately reflect the
established response areas. As part of this review, it was discovered
that the existing map was inaccurately showing that the village was
responsible for an area that had previously been annexed into a
neighboring community, which could have lead to a miscommunication in
who should respond in an emergency situation. Making sure issues like
that were resolved and accurately reflected on the map is critical to
the success of the new grid implementation and, ultimately, the map’s
usefulness to the department. By correcting inaccuracies in the Fire
department’s grid system, and using GIS to create an accurate and easy
to understand map reflecting the corrections, the village has improved
the overall safety of its residents by removing potential confusion
between mutual aid departments regarding who should respond to certain
locations within the village limits.