New App Could Help First Responders Arrive Faster

A new GPS system known as QuickRoute is being created to help first responders arrive on the scene safely and quickly.

Developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate in partnership with Azimuth1, the new app is expected to be available in 2020. It will also come in a desktop version.

The app assesses a route to a scene and can warn first responders of potential hazards along the route. This will keep first responders safe and allow them to get to the scene more quickly.

The app uses data streams that are not available to the public to inform the driver of potential factors that could slow first responders down as they head to an incident.

“If you have firefighters who have been called to an emergency, and they’re driving, say, a hook and ladder truck—perhaps they can’t traverse a narrow lane,” said Science and Technology Program Manager Kimberli Jones-Holt in an interview with “QuickRoute will provide an alternate route to be able to get them to that emergency much more quickly than a traditional commercial application would.”

The app takes into account the kind of vehicle that is being driven and makes changes to the route based off of the vehicle’s turn radius, bridge and tunnel heights, traffic signals, and the rig’s ability to use lights and sirens to warn other motorists to clear the way. The app also factors in the weather, transit schedules, and even local jurisdiction rules to create the perfect route for first responders.