The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has become the first emergency service of the UK to be able to pinpoint the location of 999 calls from mobiles and deploy emergency response vehicles more quickly. LAS is using the MapObjects GIS from ESRI (UK), within its control room, to plot the location of all mobile, and land-line based callers on a map as part of a 40 million, four-year service improvement programme by LAS. The technology has reduced its emergency response times by a critical two minutes.
The Department of Health requires the LAS to fully respond to 75 percent of category A calls – those that are immediately serious or life threatening – within eight minutes. The London Ambulance service receives approximately 3000 calls each day, a quarter of which are made from mobiles. In the control room, LAS staff uses the new system, which includes ESRI’s MapObjects, to identify where the 999 call is being made from and the best vehicle to respond, by showing the exact current location of each on a map. Emergency medical dispatchers, who take the calls, can see the closest vehicle and whether it is available, on route to, or already attending another incident.
In addition to the control room, each of the LAS’s 450 emergency response vehicles is being fitted with a mobile data terminal. A mapping system, also using ESRI technology, shows the crew exactly where they are in relation to the call they are responding to. This mapping solution is also linked to a satellite navigation system that gives the crew directions to the destination. Prior to installing the data terminals, crews had to use map books to find the best route.
ESRI’s MapObjects is a collection of embeddable mapping and GIS components, which allow developers to create specialised desktop mapping and GIS applications.