By Mike King, Global Emergency Call Taking Industry Manager, Esri
In Lee County, Florida, there are more than 100 golf courses, and throughout the winter months, most of them are filled to capacity with golf enthusiasts. Thanks to geographic information system (GIS) technology, today's golfers can now call 9-1-1 in an emergency from anywhere on the course (the tee box, fairway, or the green), and first responders will be able to locate them.
Lee County's first responders are prepared for any emergency, including heat-related illness or medical events like cardiac arrest or fractures. They've responded to golf cart accidents with serious injuries, beestings, snakebites, and many others.
Bringing locations of county golf courses into the address database made sense to Lee County GIS professionals who produced maps of all 108 golf courses. The digitizing process took over 800 hours to complete. Once finished, the maps were given to "light duty" personnel from fire districts and Lee County emergency medical services (EMS) for verification and address validation. Together, county stakeholders visited the physical locations of the courses to determine ingress and egress points and edited and updated the maps so that first responders could plan their approach while en route to an emergency.
Once the addresses were validated, they were placed into a matrix and loaded into the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) solution along with commonplace names and corresponding street addresses. The result was an address database that could be used in the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for call taking and assignment and emergency vehicle routing.
But Lee County didn't just stop there. County decision-makers reached out to the public in an aggressive public information campaign to heighten awareness and remind golfers to keep their mobile devices with them while playing golf in case of an emergency. Having access to a cellular device is helping telecommunicators find the caller more rapidly and reduces response times.
What's next? Lee County staff are using the lessons they learned to convert two additional addressing challenges into 9-1-1 addressable locations. First they are validating 1,700 public transit bus stops, and then they're taking their efforts to the beach. (And who doesn't love the beach?) Check Lee County website soon for an update on Lee County's GIS addressing project report for transportation and public beaches. (Hey, let's go surfing!)
Check out the Lee County Open Data Government site, and contact Esri if you’d like help in a similar type of project in your community.