Capita and West Midlands Fire Service have introduced the first-ever smartphone solution that enables 999 callers, with compatible mobile devices, to securely send live footage or images of incidents to emergency service control rooms.
The 999EYE application will enable emergency control rooms to be at the heart of unfolding incidents by viewing live footage streamed from eye witnesses at the scene.
It works by sending, with the 999 caller’s permission, a text message to their smartphone containing a URL. Once clicked, a one-use-only live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to the control room. GPS coordinates are also delivered, helping to pinpoint the exact location of an incident.
The solution enables control staff to quickly establish the severity of an incident and then ensure that response crews have been safely and efficiently despatched to locations with the information they need.
The service will be piloted by West Midlands Fire Service, which will be the first emergency service to go live with the solution.
Area Commander Steve Taylor of West Midlands Fire Service said: “Our fire crews currently take an average of just 4 minutes and 40 seconds to reach emergencies in which people or buildings are in danger. Responding to incidents safely, quickly and assertively is key to reducing casualties and damage to property.
"We’re proud to be at the technological forefront with 999EYE. It will help to ensure that people get the most appropriate response, complementing the skills of our expert control staff in obtaining information from 999 callers."
Chris Jones, CEO, PageOne, Capita, said: “Conceived by West Midlands Fire Service and jointly developed with Capita, this is a ground breaking solution that has the potential to deliver significant benefits to blue light services and the general public.
“In addition to fire and rescue services, this technology could advance the way 999 calls are reported and dealt with by the Police, Ambulance services, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Mountain Rescue services across the UK.”