A start-up company located in Kenya called Flare has created an app that allows its users to be connected to the nearest possible responders in the event of an emergency. “The response time of an ambulance is typically 162 minutes. With our app, it has dropped down to 15-20 minutes,” said co-founder Caitlin Dolkart to BBC News.
In places like the U.S., one can dial 911 and expect to receive help within a reasonable amount of time. In places like Nairobi, there are fifty different numbers available to call for emergency services, some of which remain unanswered because of the swarm of prank calls flooding the lines. Emergency services in Kenya cannot reach people in need if they are simply unable to be connected.
Flare connects a person in an emergency to a responder, who then uses one of the many tools available to track and locate the appropriate services nearest to the emergency. Responders have access to over fifty hospitals that have registered with Flare, as well as the option to choose the most suitable vehicle depending on equipment on board and the expertise of the staff. While emergency service numbers are still relevant, they’re not always as quick or successful as Flare has proven to be.
Flare has revolutionized emergency services in Kenya by putting people first with the following innovations:
- Live traffic
By using Google Maps, dispatchers tell drivers the quickest route to an emergency facility around traffic jams.
- Hydrant mapping
By locating and recording where functional fire hydrants are, fire agencies can save valuable time.
- Staggering shift changes
As Dolkart said to BBC News, “We learned there is a lack of ambulances between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. due to shift handovers.” Staggering the shift changes for ambulance companies makes sure there are always some ambulances available.
The creators of Flare saw where the emergency services in Kenya were failing people and decided to create something that would improve the system’s flaws. There have been countless lives that have been saved due to police arriving on time, ambulances reaching an injured person and a facility within half an hour and plenty more. With emergency services improving so much in Nairobi, Kenya, one can only hope that this app can expand to more places where this problem still persists.
– Irimar Waters