999EYE makes it possible to send video or photos of emergencies to control rooms
West Midlands Fire Service has launched a mobile app that enables users to send live footage or photos of incidents to emergency service control rooms.
Named 999EYE, it has been developed in a project with PageOne Communications, part of Capita, and enables control staff to quickly establish the severity of an incident.
It works by sending, with the 999 caller’s permission, a text message to their smartphone containing a URL. Once clicked, a one-use-only live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to the control room.
It also delivers GPS coordinates, helping to pinpoint the exact location of an incident.
The West Midlands service is planning to running a pilot of the app, which will not be used for 999 calls until tests are completed. No public go live date has yet been set.
Steve Taylor, area commander for organisational preparedness, said: “Our fire crews currently take an average of just four minutes and 40 seconds to reach emergencies in which people or buildings are in danger. Responding to incidents safely, quickly and assertively is key to reducing casualties and damage to property.
“We’re proud to be at the technological forefront by with 999EYE. It will help to ensure that people get the most appropriate response, complementing the skills of our expert control staff in obtaining information from 999 callers.”
Chris Jones, chief executive officer of PageOne, part of Capita, added: “In addition to fire and rescue services, this technology could advance the way 999 calls are reported and dealt with by the police, ambulance services, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and mountain rescue services across the UK.”