ADAB Uses QR Code to Speed Fire Response

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Daniel Heaton
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Two Al Dhafra Air Base Airmen are working hard to spread the word, the QR Code and – most importantly – the number about how to report a fire, medical emergency or other incident: contact 911.

“The challenge is letting people know how to do that in a deployed environment,” said Tech Sgt. Cody Williams, assistant fire chief for prevention with the 380th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Dept. 

To respond to that challenge, the fire department is working on a three-prong approach:
•    Creating new flyers that will be installed in or on buildings around the base with instructions on how to call 911 from different phone systems;
•    Printing stickers to add to base landline phones; and
•    Publishing a QR Code that base personnel can scan and then use to call 911.

The QR Code technology will allow base personnel to use their own, personal cell phones, to contact the fire dispatch center.

“This allows us to use technology that probably at least 99 percent of the Airmen and other personnel on the base already have on them,” said Staff Sgt. Wyatt Hurd, a firefighter who developed the QR Code for the ADAB department.

Williams developed a similar system on a previous deployment in the Central Command Area of Responsibility.

The QR Code can be scanned at a time of emergency or, as the fire prevention team is encouraging, scanned and saved in the phone’s contacts list and then activated during an emergency. Using the What’sApp application on a smart phone, the QR Code contact will allow a person to call or text the fire dispatch center.

“Adding the text feature is important because sometimes a person may not have enough signal strength to make a call, but a text will get through,” Hurd said. “It is all about getting the information into the dispatch center as quickly as possible and allowing the dispatcher to begin sending help, be it a fire, a medical situation or something we can refer to Security Forces for response.”

While the team is working on the flyers and stickers, use of the QR Code and App eliminates issues with phone that may not work or may be hard to find in an emergency.

“We think this is a system that saves the Air Force money, increases our ability to respond to an emergency in a timely fashion and is a system that we can very easily pass along to the next rotation in the fire department,” Williams said.

Williams is forward deployed to Al Dhafra from Shaw Air Force, South Carolina. Hurd is a member of the Maine Air National Guard, home based in Bangor, Maine.