The London Fire Brigade could improve its response to major incidents by embracing mobile technology.
I recently authored a report entitled "Updated Response" in which I argue that the Brigade should introduce a mobile app that allows eyewitnesses to stream live video footage to the control room.
This approach has already been tested elsewhere both in the UK and abroad. Streaming technology has been trialled by West Midlands Fire Service and apps are currently used in Sacramento, California, and Victoria, Australia.
Taking into account that London is a world city, it is a surprise that our own fire service isn't leading the way in such innovations.
The idea would essentially increase ability to quickly direct the most appropriate response to the exact location of a live incident and may help in the investigative process afterwards.
The proposed app could be downloaded by any user but the video streaming element would only be initiated by the control room operator.
If the caller did not have the app, the operator could send them a link via text message to initiate the video call.
London's emergency services have traditionally been behind the curve when it comes to using modern mobile tech.
This mobile app would enable reliable, accurate information about the type and scale of an incident to reach the control room in real time, speeding up the appropriate response and potentially saving lives.
When we consider that London is often on high alert for potential terror attacks, the addition of such real time reporting could also have an impact on responding to such events.
The app could also be used to report non-emergency fire risks and contain useful information such as the location of fire stations.
My report recommends to the Mayor of London that he holds a competitive competition to develop a London-specific software.