|Fire district's new 'game changer' mobile response network posted on 09/01/2021|
Before this past spring, the Hoodland Fire District (HFD)
used iPads connected to cellular networks to manage incidence response data.
“If we didn’t have cell service, we lost everything,” Brian
Henrichs, HFD Division Chief for Operations and Training, stated.
That issue was solved when the district acquired and
installed Cradlepoint LTE mobile data centers (MDC) for all the district’s
emergency response vehicles in May.
The Cradlepoint LTE emergency network greatly improves the
district’s ability to access important, time-sensitive information when
responding to calls in parts of the district where cellular service is limited,
“The (data centers) have been a game changer,” Henrichs
said. “We used to have to pay close attention when responding in areas out of
cellular range, but the new Cradlepoint network gives us close to real-time
data throughout the district.”
Funding for the MDCs was made possible by a Special
Districts Association of Oregon coronavirus relief fund grant. The system cost
the district approximately $114,000 to equip 12 vehicles altogether.
“This purchase wouldn’t be possible without the coronavirus
grant,” Henrichs stated. “It would have otherwise taken the district years to
fund the MDCs.”
The district ordered the Cradlepoint system with the grant
money in October of 2020, but encountered delays due to the devices being
backordered that prevented the district from equipping the vehicles until the
HFD field tested the devices in areas of the district
without cellular connectivity before making the purchase and found that the new
network provides comprehensive coverage in the Mount Hood communities. The MDCs
are equipped with built-in GPS tracker and hard-loaded maps including hydrants
and water supply access points to assure accurate location data regardless of
The Cradlepoint network also protects and secures patient
data by providing enterprise-grade network security that ensure data remains
protected and HIPAA compliant.
“The safeguards on patient information add another
protective layer to privacy for the public,” Henrichs said.
The Cradlepoint network makes district firefighters less
reliant on emergency dispatchers for incident information and time-sensitive
updates. The network updates every 15 seconds assuring the responders have the
latest information from police and other first-responders while in-route.
“Sometimes communication with dispatch can be delayed. (The
MDC’s) take that delay out of the equation during incident response,” Henrichs
The data centers provide the firefighters with multiple
layers of maps including Google Earth, a topographical map, and the ability to
measure distance from the vehicle to a location on the map. This feature is
useful to get a rough estimate for hose lay in the case of a wildfire or
structure fire with no direct vehicle access.
The Cradlepoint mobile emergency data network is also
utilized by Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department and the Clackamas County Fire
Henrichs stated that he was familiar with the system from
his tenure working with American Medical Response and had been interested in
acquiring the technology since he joined HFD. “It’s a huge benefit for the
district,” he said.
For more information on HFD, visit
By Ben Simpson/MT