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True stories from dispatchers, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel who use New World public safety software to help them save lives, protect communities and increase efficiency

Fire Escalates to 3-Alarm in 11 Minutes

On New Year's Eve in 2015, the Snohomish County Police Staff and Auxiliary Services Center (SNOPAC), a 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), received a call regarding a mattress fire in an apartment complex.

According to Karl Christian, SNOPAC's Operations Support Specialist, this fire was of special concern due to the size of the apartment complex — 217 apartment homes in total — and the number of lives at stake. Unlike a structure fire at a home or smaller dwelling, this fire had the potential to be harder to control.

Within just five minutes of the initial call for service, the fire had already spread beyond the apartment with the burning mattress. Smoke could be seen billowing out of the second floor of the apartment complex.

One minute after the first string of responders had arrived — four minutes after being dispatched — the fire spread to a separate building. At 7:16 p.m., a mere seven minutes after the initial call for service, the fire emergency was advanced to a second alarm.

As more units were dispatched to the scene from multiple agencies across the county, the fire became more severe and difficult to contain and was moved to a third-alarm. At that time, more than 90 firefighters and emergency personnel had responded to the call.

By the time the blaze had reached third-alarm status, only 11 minutes had passed from the moment the call for service first came in to SNOPAC. With the help of the public safety software system used by both SNOPAC and SNOCOM rescue units from multiple fire districts and jurisdictions were able to be called to the scene. This response helped get the fire emergency under control, and prevented loss of life and additional injuries.

Seven apartments in the complex were affected by the fire, while 23 additional apartments in the complex were damaged by smoke and water. Fifteen residents required medical treatment both on the scene and at the local hospital. Volunteers with the Red Cross were on hand to help displaced residents.

To learn more about New World public safety solutions, read the SNOCOM/SNOPAC Case Study.

Photo courtesy of Everett Police Department