New app from National Grid to help first responders - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

New app from National Grid to help first responders

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
WARE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

As we know, there's an app for just about everything and now, with the help of the Ware Fire Department, National Grid is launching their very own app. 

About a year ago, Ware Deputy Fire Chief Edward Wloch was working with a National Grid crew on a pole at Memorial Field

"And I took a picture and sent it to the line supervisor and he came flying right up and said 'Hey, too bad we can't do this all the time.'  I said 'Ya, why cant we?'" Wloch said.

That's when the First Responder iRestore App was born.  It allows crews to take a picture of a problem, such as a tree on a burning wire, and send it directly to others in the department along with National Grid

"In emergency situations, whether it's a blue sky like today or during a storm event, it gives us eyes in the field of how bad it is, so that we can, at National Grid can, respond appropriately with the right resources," said Michael McCallan, vice president of emergency planning with National Grid.

It allows National Grid crews to see the issue and provide the right resources

"We can send the right trucks, the right equipment, right materials to the job, and hopefully, what that'll do is restore the customers faster," McCallan noted.

It also keeps protects our first responders

"This helps us by keeping us safer.  We show up at a scene, see a problem, take a picture of it and the nine supervisors get it immediately.  If they see something we're not seeing, they can call us right back and say stay away from this area, so it keeps us safe." Wloch noted.

As of right now, the app is exclusive to police and fire departments 

"They're the experts and they know to stay away from these downed wires and we don't want to put anybody at risk.  They're trained by National Grid and they're also trained professionals," McCallan said.

Starting today, all emergency responders in western Massachusetts will have access to this app to better communicate with National Grid.

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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