Fire Department Adds iPads to Engines

BOWMANSTOWN -- An iPad isn't something you expect to see when you jump into the front seat of a fire truck. But at Bowmanstown Volunteer Fire Department, these devices have become quite useful.

"What that does for us, is that it gives me the opportunity to know who is responding to me and once we are on the road, it gives me the street information and the hydrant placements," said Bowmanstown Fire Chief Michael Spairana.

Three iPads were recently installed in the fire trucks.

Chief Spairana says the devices were paid for by the Fireman's Relief Association.

The iPads are hooked up to a program called "I Am Responding,"  a piece of software used by the department.

"With this program, we can also do pre-plans. There's a dot on the building, it shows up as a bubble and if you open that up, it will tell you how you can attack the fire," said Chief Spairana.

Not only does the iPad give crews directions, but it also tells them how much water flow is in the hydrants.

"With the hydrant placement, it tells us what kind of hydrant flow we are going to get. So we know if we are getting 200 gallons per minute or 1,000 gallons per minute and which hydrant we are going to hit or not hit," said Chief Spairana.

Chief Spairana says the iPads also save time when they are responding to an area they might not be familiar with.

"We don't have to call the comm center and say what was that address again and how am I going to get there," said Chief Spairana.

There is also hope that as the fire department advances its technology, it will attract more recruits.