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Clackamas County Fire Department Utilizes Constant LTE Access to Connect GPS for Life-Saving CAD System

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CASE STUDY CHARGEITSPOT ©Cradlepoint. All Rights Reserved. | +1.855.813.3385 | 2 Agency Profile Clackamas Fire District #1 is one of the largest fire protection districts in Oregon, serving more than 220,000 citizens across nearly 235 square miles in several cities and unincorporated areas just outside Portland. Based at 20 fire stations in urban, suburban, and rural areas, the organization's firefighters respond to tens of thousands of incidents every year. The department's emergency vehicle fleet — which introduces new technologies with each passing year — includes engines, brush rigs, and medic units. Organizational Needs For several years Clackamas Fire has been planning for its rollout of a Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) software system. The system went live in March 2018, enabling automatic calculations of the department vehicles' time, distance, speed, and location. When an emergency arises, the CAD system selects the vehicle that will have the fastest and most efficient path to the scene. "CAD is important because it helps us get to the needs of the public in a timely manner," said Mark Horst, Technical Services Administrator for Clackamas Fire District #1. In first responder vehicles that rely on CAD systems and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) during emergency response, a major challenge is ensuring constant mobile connectivity to GPS data so the dispatches are based on highly accurate information at critical times. Always-on cellular-based Internet access, along with robust WiFi, also is essential for the ruggedized Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) in each vehicle. Clackamas Fire found Air Cards to be far too unreliable for in-vehicle use. The agency was looking for routers that featured embedded LTE modems — routers that also could provide high-performance WiFi in and around vehicles to help personnel interact with reports in the field. Clackamas Fire doesn't have enough manpower to frequently and manually adjust the wireless networking device aboard each vehicle, so another important checkbox for the IT team was a cloud management platform. Solution Clackamas Fire deployed Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for mobile, including routing, GPS and telematics integration, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting. The agency has found that the consistency of Internet uptime allows the CAD system to remain up to date and consistently make sure first responders are in the right place at the right time. "With LTE connectivity through Cradlepoint solutions, our CAD system has become more accurate with AVL technology in recommending the closest unit to respond," said Horst. Benefits Constant LTE Connectivity for Hightly Reliable GPS Tracking Cradlepoint's software-defined in-vehicle routers with embedded LTE modems provide Clackamas Fire with the always-on connectivity necessary to trust their CAD system during emergencies. "In the past, we used integrated Air Cards to connect our Mobile Data Computers (MDCs), and they were constantly disconnecting because of the older 2G and 3G technology. Today, with Cradlepoint in-vehicle solutions, cellular connectivity is more consistant in our fire vehicles," said Horst.

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