It's the call that every patrol supervisor dreads. Dispatch has sent you a "shots fired" call. People are down. You have an active shooter on your hands.

The location is an industrial plant. You don't know exactly what they do there, but you know that they use some nasty toxic stuff to do it. And now you and your officers have to enter this place and engage an unstable gunman.

Right now, you would sell your right arm for a floorplan and some information about what exactly is in use in the building. After all, you don't want to order your people into a hazardous material zone without the proper protection.

Fortunately, you don't have to sell your right arm. A company called GEOCommand has created a software program that can supply you with vital information on key buildings in your jurisdiction, including floorplans and the presence of wicked little surprises like hazardous materials.

GEOCommand is essentially a geographic information system (GIS) tool that was designed to give first responders valuable intel about any location in their area of operation. In the active shooter scenario above, if the patrol supervisor had GEOCommand on his mobile computer, then he would have access to floorplans, elevator and power supply locations, hazardous material inventories with safety instructions, information on the nearest hospitals, and other critical intel. He could also relay this information to any number of responding units.

Michael Rand, marketing director for GEOCommand, says the product was developed as a resource for firefighters working at federal laboratories, and it has grown into a tool for all first responders. "We see GEOCommand as an excellent resource for SWAT and other law enforcement operations," he says.

GEOCommand can be integrated with your existing computer-aided dispatch system. This means that incident commanders can use it not only to gain valuable intel on the building that their officers must operate in, but also to allocate resources to respond to that incident.

One of the best features of GEOCommand is that it allows local officers to create their own building pre-plans. For example, with the growing concerns over campus active shooters and terrorist attacks on schools and universities, an agency could use GEOCommand to create detailed profiles on all campus buildings in its jurisdiction and relay that information to responders over their mobile computers as they speed toward an incident. Such intel could save time and lives.

"You don't have to be a GIS specialist to add your own preplans in GEOCommand," says Rand. "It's easy to use and all of the capability that you need is built into the product." Need FREEInfo? Use #22301.