October 21, 2014

Cornell Alumni Develop Software for Emergency Agencies

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By ASHLEY COLLIS-BURGESS

Correction appended

Aiming to improve first responder technologies, two Cornellians — Sam Jones ’13 and Connor Fitzpatrick ’13 — released software that facilitates communication and information exchange for first responders.

Echo Responder, released last month and used by the Cayuga Heights Fire Departments, provides chat messaging, incident mapping, location sharing and other personal data to first responders through web, Android and iOS platforms, according to Fitzpatrick, who was formerly a Cayuga Heights firefighter and Bangs Ambulance EMT.

“Echo Responder is a software platform that provides tactical tools to emergency first responders.” he said. “We were originally founded by Cornell graduates who are also firefighters, medics and software developers.”

Within two weeks of Echo Responder’s release, both the Cayuga Heights Fire Department and Newfield Fire Company began actively using the software to search for the nearest fire hydrants and communicate “without being limited by radios,” according to Fitzpatrick.

Jones, a former lieutenant firefighter for the Cayuga Heights Fire Department who studied electrical and computer engineering, said the program was created to improve the current technology services for information dissemination in the fire department.

“Fire departments are often using heavily outdated information technology services and it affects performance in everything from response time to membership retention,” he said. “Armed with timely and correct information, officers and firefighters alike make better, faster decisions, which enables greater cohesiveness and effectiveness in the unit.”

Compared to others competitors, Echo Responders will be a leading program in analytics because of its efficient and user friendly structure, according to Jones.

“Adopting a cloud based service that utilizes existing infrastructure and hardware presents a low risk, low cost opportunity to push information and analytics to the edge in real time,” he said.

The Cornellians hope to expand the use of Echo Responder.

“The software is currently used nationwide and we hope all Tompkins County Agencies will adopt the technology,” he said.

Referencing plans for user expansion, Fitzpatrick said that Echo Responder can be easily customized to meet the needs of any emergency unit through its cloud-based infrastructure.

“The software is a robust and customizable solution for almost any type of emergency agency,” he said. “Ultimately we intend to expand to all facets of emergency services — police, fire and EMS, as well as specialized teams such as search and rescue and wildland fire suppression.”

Jones added that he hopes Echo Responders will be a leading program due to its user-friendly structure.

“A cross platform, open, service married with existing infrastructure and hardware will get more users on the platform leading to an overall better product – this is where the competition has failed,” he said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Echo Responder launched last year. In fact, it launched last month.

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