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App for volunteer firefighters

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  1. CALife

    CALife New Member

    Im a volunteer firefighter and one of the frequent issues my company and the company in the county run into is the lack of communication. Since we arnt at the station 24/7 and only go to the station when there is a call it is hard to track who is going to respond and when they are going to get to the station.
    Idk how hard this will be or if its simple but I'm requesting an app to send a mass text to preselected contacts with the click of a button. There would need to be 5 buttons, available, available delayed response, Unavailable, Responding and Not Responding. I would also like to know if the app could be connected to maps somehow? IE: The address of the station is put into the app before hand and saved and when you send a message such as "Available" it would say "Available - 10min away from station" or "Responding - ETA: 10min". Also it would be nice if the responding button also kept track of how many times it was pressed and what date and time.

  2. silvergc

    silvergc New Member

    This sounds interesting. I've been looking for an idea that isn't entertainment. I don't know how difficult this would be, but there are apps out there that make use of the the GPS and Google Maps. I'm sure this could be done.

    Any particular constraints on the Android version, etc?
  3. CALife

    CALife New Member

    Well im runing 2.3.4 but my hope is that it will be available to any firefighter with an android phone.
  4. silvergc

    silvergc New Member

    Thanks for the info. I'm going to start digging into it this weekend.
  5. kaediil

    kaediil Member

    This would not be hard at all, except for the estimation of time. The app could certainly calculate the distance in miles from the station, but the time estimate not really. On the Navigation app from Google, they use their servers and data to calculate ETA.

    Silvergc, if you decide not to look into this, let me know.

  6. silvergc

    silvergc New Member


    Although I am looking into this, I would also welcome your participation. CALife is interested in getting a good solution for the firefighters, and so am I. I don't want to delay the deployment of a workable solution to keep it to myself since there are definite societal advantages to getting something like this out there. I could also learn from what you do.

    CALife provided the following information to me:

    As of right now we send texts to the chief and captains, pretty much if your available (as known by the captains and chief via texts) you are expected to respond. We use two types of alerts for the firefighters, one via a pager that is assigned to every firefighter, however the pager is unable to communicate with others it only receives our tone. The other is from a computer program called CAD, Computer Aided dispatch, it sends a text to each member of the responding fire company, however you are not able to reply and communicate with the dispatch or other firefighters. It is completely based on the texts of each firefighter to other firefighters right now.

    The mapping and ETA is a luxury I am able to live without it, however with the delayed response option is it possible to make 2 more boxes such as location description and ETA so the user can type where he is at? Also the app doesn't need to communicate with other apps just a text to keep it simple. Also if its not to much to ask a widget would be nice, like one icon for each text.

    Also I didn't get a chance to thank you, this will help me and other firefighters be able to respond quicker and more effectively in turn possibly saving lives.
  7. kaediil

    kaediil Member

    Ok, so as the chief or captain, you would send out the text to all the firefighters? Or should the app look for the text from the CAD system? Can you post/send me one of the CAD texts? Is there something in the text that can uniquely identify it?

    Next, the app should allow you to select a set of phone numbers to SMS a response back to or just to the chief/captain (should all captains and the chief get the responses all the time)? Is that list the same all the time? Does it change based on day/date/time of day?

  8. cpetrescu

    cpetrescu Member

    i'm very interested into making this ideea come to life.
    i've got 5 years java experience but so far i haven't worked on android.
    In my opinion,this app can be best described as a Incident Rapid Response Client, something along those lines.
    kaediil,silvergc if you guys want to give me your messenger ids or smthing like that i'd like to talk more about this.
  9. cpetrescu

    cpetrescu Member

    Here is my ideea about how the app would work:
    I will try to make as few assumptions as possible till we get more info from CALLife.
    I will also present what is in my mind the simplest use case, meaning no crew scheduler, no automated estimated time of arrival calculations.

    You have a dispatcher human, or computer program that sends SMS messages notifying crew members of an emergency.
    The crew member receives a message, must be able to identify that it came from a dispatcher and send a quick response via SMS.

    We can think of the dispatcher as an android app on the chief/captain's phone which manages a list of his captains/ crew member phone numbers. Upon clicking a button a meaningfull message is sent to all crew members.
    On the crew member side, we could have an android app described as below:
    1. it knows who it's possible dispatchers are (the phone numbers)
    2. when an sms message arrives if it is from the dispatcher it triggers an alarm and pop's up a window where you are asked to respond with your status and location and ETA. the crew member hits a button to respond and a meaningfull sms message is sent back to the dispatcher.

    This i believe would be the simplest form of the app that would be usefull.
    I have a lot of ideeas on extending from this but i think it's best for CALLife to give his feedback first :)
    So, CALLife?
  10. CALife

    CALife New Member

    Sorry guys I have been very busy the last couple days. The the miles in place of the eta is also a good idea. All I need the app to do is to pretty much text a group of preselected people at the click of a button. However I do like your idea regarding integrating cad into the app. Maybe cads number can be saved into a box also letting the app id dispatch. The app should be able to save multiple numbers though since dispatch uses different numbers. Also if you would like my contact info for skype pm me
  11. sathyashrayan

    sathyashrayan Member

    According to my understanding this app involves "Obtaining User Location" and using "Android contact API".. Correct me if i am wrong.. I am beginner in Android development..
  12. cpetrescu

    cpetrescu Member

    Eventualy it might use "Obtaining user location" but its not mandatory, that's a nice to have.
    And yes the cotact api will be used, but as an optional way to import contacts.
    What will be needed for sure is a listener for sms messages from dispatcher.(something that is notified when a sms message arrives and scans it to see if it is from dispatch then ...etc..) :)
    I'm a beginner too :)
  13. cpetrescu

    cpetrescu Member

    Right now i'm looking the following topics:
    - storage options (some sort of very lightweight DB) as we need to persist lists of people. (i'd rather not do it plaintexxt...maybe xml, or object orieted db...)
    - send SMS
    - SMS listener
    - Start an alarm
  14. kaediil

    kaediil Member

    1) I see no reason not to use SQLlite since it is on the device
    2) Simple - TelephonyAPI
    3) Also Simple, see this link: SMS Messaging in Android | mobiForge Also, if a newer API level is used, you can even snag the SMS before it gets to the normal SMS inbox, see: Can we delete an SMS in Android before it reaches the inbox? - Stack Overflow
    4) Why start an alarm? Rather I think you need to register and intent filter for boot time like this: Start Service at boot | Android Competency Center

    cpetrescu likes this.
  15. cpetrescu

    cpetrescu Member

    thanks for the help.
    yes SQLLite seems the way to go.
    ill look into what you said :)
  16. CALife

    CALife New Member

    Thanks for working hard on this guys. I'll share this app with my fire company and department when you create it.
  17. sathyashrayan

    sathyashrayan Member

    Dear developers,
    Due to the cultural difference I need to put extra effort in understanding the concept of volunteer fire fighters. Whenever a 911 - 112 buzzes it transfers the information to volunteer fire department either through pager, radio.. When the volunteer fire department's head receives a information from 911 / 112 he will take his android phone, click open our app, input the accident place details and clicks a button. Immediately that will indicate(auto sending message) the list of members. When the members receives the alert he will click open our app and see the accident location, his own location(current) , distance between his location and the accident zone, time to reach the venue of accident, what is the shortest rout(algorithm) in reaching the accident venue.

    Please clarify my doubt. How will the information received through 911 / 112? Will they supply geo codes(lat /lan) to the volunteer fire department?

    I went through the following resources..

    Pro android 3 (Apress book)
    Samples from android (Sample Code)

    I think we need to have following topics covered..

    telephoneAPI (send / receive sms)
    Location and Maps
    AlarmManager (scheduling)
    UI/Layouts (User Interface)
    database (sqlite)

    There could be an next stage in developing the app where an resident could take videos when his home is under fire and send it to the volunteer fire fighters along with 911 / 112..
  18. cpetrescu

    cpetrescu Member

    Hey sathyashrayan,
    Very good ideea you have there, but it is an altogeher different app.
    From what i've understood what CALLife needs is much simpler, it is basically an advanced way the captain and the volunteers can comunicate in case of an emergency, as he described :).
    I like your ideea though :D
    I've started work on a preliminary version, i'm thinking of open sourcing it and hosting it on sourceforge so it will be easier to contribute.
  19. kaediil

    kaediil Member

    I think opensourcing it is a great idea and I was going to suggest it, but I have gotten a bit busy for a couple weeks here. Anyway, I will at least be able to give some feedback and help if you open source it.

  20. sathyashrayan

    sathyashrayan Member

    That sounds great. I am planning to make a mock-up presentation with basic flow. I am planning to use "Android Design Preview Tool"(http://code.google.com/p/android-ui-utils/) Is it possible for you to create a SVN checkou for me in the name of "ameex technologies"? May be i could contribute some basic requirements in my free times.
    Can Any one suggest a mockup tool that will make to understand system flow? A simple presentation could be enough. Thanks
  21. AJ4VS

    AJ4VS Member

    i'm bumping up this old thread in the hopes that there was progress in the project. this is exactly the type of app I'm looking for. Any news?
  22. dickdastardly

    dickdastardly New Member

    Whatever happened with this Application request?
    I really like the sound of it and would like to develop it,
    can someone fill me in with any details and /or ideas?

  23. jgcalifornia

    jgcalifornia New Member

    I'm a fairly experienced Android dev, and this seems like a 1-2 day project from my end.

    Is there still interest from the original requester or anyone else?

    If there's demand, we'll make this happen.
  24. billatq

    billatq New Member

    This doesn't seem terribly hard to implement, but I was walking through the usage scenarios of something like this and noticed that there are other apps that can send out mass text messages already: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.corollarycomputing.mtp

    Is the value of doing a fire-fighter specific app in being able to do one-click response with the ETA?

    My understanding is that most volunteer fire departments don't issue radios to everyone, so the issue is quickly coordinating communication between people that don't have radios.

    Could you run us through what the current response scenarios look like? It seems like having a dispatcher send off the mass message to everybody requesting status to coordinate would work better in this case because not everybody is going to have an android phone.
  25. prl91

    prl91 Active Member

    I can make this in a few hours if you would like. I don't remember reading that anyone finished the project. If I'm correct all you want is a mass sending of texts to the firefighters, have them see they get a text, and then have them click a response option, correct? Shouldn't take more than a few hours. I can start tomorrow if you want, and you'll have a copy prolly tomorrow night if all goes well!

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