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Case Study: Mission Manager Leveraging the U.S. National Grid for Greater Good

Author: Michael J. Berthelot, Mission Manager, Inc.

Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content,

Date: 2014-08-28
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The U.S. National Grid (USNG) is a federal standard and coordinate system for land search-and-rescue that allows emergency personnel to pinpoint locations of remote fires, missing people and pets, and more, anywhere, anytime. Even when weather, distance or natural disasters eliminate the presence of typical location markers, the U.S. National Grid allows first responders such as search-and-rescue teams, fire departments and other critical emergency personnel to efficiently organize their operations.

(Above): Mission Manager allows users to track member equipment, such as weapons and vehicles, as well as suspect’s information that can be printed in ICS format and exported as flyers. The software also allows users to triangulate their missions and insert over a 100 overlays with categories such as topography, police stations, schools, social media feeds and street maps.

 

This alphanumeric system leverages the internationally applicable Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system and elements of the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS), which makes it a consistent and easily consumed point of reference for teams. It also features the ability to create types of maps ranging from “hasty maps” - which can be drawn up in minutes to distribute to emergency teams for mission and planning alignment - to in-depth and comprehensive iterations.

 

Leveraging USNG Subject Matter Expert

Until a few years ago, the U.S. National Grid was not a key component in emergency management software – given its ubiquity today -- and that may come as a surprise. In its early days, our incident management software, Mission Manager, did not sync with the U.S. National Grid either. Seeing room to improve, Mission Manager’s developer connected with grid expert and fire suppression system engineer, Al Studt, to leverage his deep knowledge and insights on the U.S. National Grid.

An early adopter and daily user of the grid, Studt identified an opportunity for Mission Manager to be one of the first software apps to incorporate the U.S. National Grid into operations. Mission Manager is now fully integrated and a U.S. National Grid mainstay for leading emergency response professionals across the U.S.

In addition to working at the Kennedy Space Center as a fire suppression systems engineer, Studt is a Lieutenant with Canaveral Fire Rescue and serves on the Florida Task Force #4 Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) team, which is one of just eight in the state. A renowned authority on the grid, Studt not only uses USNG-integrated software, he also teaches related classes and writes a number of articles on its utilization.

Studt used unrelated tools and applications for mapping, storm event dispatching, logging, electrical equipment geo-location and other critical tasks before becoming instrumental in Mission Manager’s USNG offerings and capabilities. Now, everything he needs for U.S. National Grid is all in one place.

He credits Mission Manager, “the best web tool out there that works with the National Grid,” as a trusted supporter of his professional endeavors and explains that the software has proven valuable to his position at Kennedy Space Center, in addition to preparing for emergency operations with Canaveral Fire Rescue and training missions with Florida Task Force #4.

 

USNG and Mission Manager in Action

In April 2014, a controlled fire in the Fox Lake area of Florida jumped boundary lines and quickly grew into a wildfire, requiring immediate attention from the local fire department. With Mission Manager’s mapping feature, Studt triangulated the fire and determined its USNG 1 km square location. “Mission Manager is also an excellent way for firefighters to geo-locate fire hydrants in unfamiliar areas,” Studt adds.

(Above): Mission Manager helped locate the position of a controlled fire in the Fox Lake area of Florida, which quickly grew into a wildfire.

One can imagine the implications this integration holds for natural disasters as well. “Mission Manager is the only tool that has National Grid overlay with weather,” Studt notes. In the event of a hurricane or tornado, Mission Manager technology and its U.S. National Grid capabilities can make saving more lives a very real possibility for emergency call centers, law enforcement and municipal emergency departments. The software a efficiently manage mission data via laptops or mobile devices, enhancing situational awareness, speed and efficacy of missions even while on the go.

Supporting efforts from daily operations to large-scale natural disasters, Mission Manager acts as the ultimate tool for emergency response teams. Its integration with the U.S. National Grid and other go-to grid systems allows personnel to locate victims, guide crews to fires, track weather events and more.

(Above, and below): Mission Manager allows users to track member equipment, such as weapons and vehicles, as well as suspect’s information that can be printed in ICS format and exported as flyers. The software also allows users to triangulate their missions and insert over a 100 overlays with categories such as topography, police stations, schools, social media feeds and street maps.

Preparation for Future Disasters

As a trusted authority on the U.S. National Grid, Studt teaches future users and first responder trainees about its applications and benefits, both in tandem with his task force and as an independent contractor. “I always use Mission Manager when I teach National Grid classes. It’s a great tool for my students to see the mapping of the grid layers in real time,” he says.

With the program’s dynamic zoom abilities, students have the chance to study and manipulate the grid and watch the environments respond intuitively. This hands-on approach helps prepare them for leveraging and operating the tool in real-world situations, developing a knowledge base that could be life-saving. “Mission Manager is the best way to teach someone National Grid,” Studt shares.

Studt also uses his expertise to write case studies and educational articles about the U.S. National Grid, analyzing how “it saved the day” or could have led to better outcomes had it been used. He says, “I can’t write an article on National Grid without referencing Mission Manager.”

Mission Manager has been heralded as a true essential for first response crews not just in the U.S., but around the world. Mission Manager has supported and executed almost 5,000 missions to date. The combination of this software tool and the U.S. National Grid will make emergency rescue missions smarter and more efficient, resulting in more saved lives and success stories, despite dangerous crises situations.

Michael J. Berthelot is the President & CEO of Mission Manager, Inc, which provides cloud-based software designed to help save lives and property by enabling first responders to operate more efficiently and effectively. Mission Manager’s team member and asset management capabilities, combined with its calendar and communication functions, allows users to enhance team readiness through optimized training and seamlessly integrate mission-specific operations during real-time events.

For more information, see www.missionmanager.com

 

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