Local agencies demo emergency video streaming program

MEDFORD, Ore. — A pilot program launching this week in Jackson County will allow willing 911 callers to stream live video to first responders from the scene of fire emergencies, Fire District 3 announced on Wednesday.

The program springs from a partnership between FD3, Oregon Department of Forestry, and Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO). It launches on Thursday, August 20.

“This concept will be demoed by participating agencies with a couple different vendors,” FD3 said. “Links will be sent to certain 911 callers who are in a safe location, willing, and able share their smartphone video with emergency responders.”

When someone calls 911 from a video-capable smart phone, dispatchers will be able to send a text to the caller that contains a link to a secure, one-time-use video stream. Callers do not need to download an app in order to participate. FD3 says that the link only enables a video stream, and does not allow access to any other phone functions.

“This stream provides a tactical advantage to emergency responders, allowing them to have eyes on an emergency scene minutes prior to arrival,” the agency said. “The ability to see video will provide additional incident intelligence to response personnel, aiding in deciding the number and types of resources that may be needed to manage the complexity of the fire incident.”

Once the video stream ends, the caller will receive a link to a survey, which FD3 encourages users to complete in order to gather feedback on the system. Call phone data and messaging rates apply to the service.

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