Use of iPads decrease Horry County Fire Rescue response time

IPads are more than just high-tech fun, they're helping Horry County firefighters get to emergencies faster and safer.

Previously, crews had to write down the address and look it up on a map. Now, it takes a simple tap on a touchscreen

"We maintain map books for our specific areas, but if we're going out of the area then we have to look in an atlas or one of the county-wide map books to, we're referring to paper. Now we're able to take the address plug it into a mapping program and get turn by turn directions," said Lt. Rob Myers with Horry County Fire Rescue.

Each Horry County fire engine has an iPad.

Firefighters can see the address, satellite images, and even know the outside dimensions of buildings before they get on scene.

"The GIS software that we have is linked with all the county tax maps and county footprints. We can get satellite imagery and we can actually, if we had to see the wood lines or water sources in the area, show the layout of the building from an aerial shot," said Lt. Myers.

The iPad shows active calls going on in Horry County for fire and EMS. It also shows where fire hydrants are located, and the current location of the engine responding to an emergency.

Lt. Myers says having the address spelled out on the iPad makes it much easier for crews.

"Providing the address information, we don't have to contact the 911 dispatch center to go, you know, what was that address? So, it clears up a lot of radio time as well," said Lt. Myers.

The iPads cost Horry County $28,000.

They plan on using the iPads to file documents and reports in an effort to go paperless.