Following through on a campaign initiative, Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin has proposed to equip Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters with iPads and innovative smart phone apps to assist with their duties.
Bonin introduced the motion calling for a Fire Strategic Technology Integration (“FIRST-IN”) Master Plan for Los Angeles during his first week in City Hall.
The proposal would allow firefighters using antiquated maps and clunky computers to upgrade to tablet devices, Bonin said. The plan also calls for synchronizing the more than a dozen databases currently operated by the LAFD, helping firefighters to work smarter, safer and more productively, Bonin said.
“Lives are on the line and the brave men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department, as well as the people whose lives they protect, deserve access to the best technology available,” said Bonin. “Los Angeles is home to some of the most creative and innovative minds in the world and we have a responsibility to use this home-grown technology to improve the way firefighters and paramedics save lives.”
At the Fire Commission meeting July 9, Commissioner Alan Skobin asked Assistant Chief Patrick Butler and Capt. Rich Fields to begin working to achieve the objectives outlined in Bonin’s motion. Butler, author of the LAFD’s Task Force on Information and Data Analysis Report, which made major recommendations for technology upgrades, was specifically asked to gather feedback from LAFD rank and file about the use of iPads or other tablet devices in the field.
In addition, Fields was asked to begin preparing for the development and implementation of the proposal.
“This is great news and I appreciate Commissioner Skobin and the Fire Commission’s quick action. The sooner we can get this needed technology into the hands of the brave men and women who we rely on to save lives in Los Angeles, the better,” Bonin said.
The councilman noted that tablet technology, such as iPads, could allow firefighters en route to a fire to see actual photographs of the structure and the surrounding terrain, better preparing them to combat the fire and save lives.
The use of iPads can also facilitate efforts to integrate and aggregate many of LAFD’s existing databases with mapping software and GPS vehicle location technology to provide critical information prior to first responders’ arrival on-scene, he said.

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