Fire Alert Texts Help Speed Up Midland Fire Response

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Three to five minutes. That's how much time this new system is saving firefighters.

For the Northeast Midland County Volunteer Firefighters, the scene of a big fire or bad car wreck is now just a text away.

"It gets the firefighters to where they need to be a lot quicker," NE Midland County Fire Chief, Mat McClure, said.

It's part of a trial text system with Midland Fire Dispatchers. Northeast Volunteers were just added to it last Wednesday.

This means the days of confusion about where a fire is are now gone.

"It's quite often, especially in the county," McClure said. "Sometimes it's pretty difficult to find an address. If you really wasn't paying attention, you would've drove right past it."

In the case of the Terrace Fire in Midland on Monday, which injured two firefighters, the location, the type of fire and any cross-roads were already available to firefighters.

"All the incidents that were going on yesterday, it cut down a whole lot of radio traffic for dispatch," McClure said.

The volunteers said sometimes they even get the text before they're paged and they're calling this system a saving grace because the three to five minutes they save on the way to the scene could make all the difference.

"Three minutes really don't seem like a lot of time but it can mean the difference between life and death," McClure said.

This text system is still in the trial stage for the Midland Fire Dispatch.

The volunteers said they can't respond to the text and they take great care never to read the text while driving. But they said this text system is paving the way for faster and possibly more life-saving response.