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HURRICANE — Two City of Hurricane Police officers have developed a new app they say will make it easier for first responders to communicate with the public regarding important and emergency circumstances.

Patrol Safety is a user-friendly app that allows people, businesses, churches and others to have their information readily available.

Police Chief Mike Mullins and Lt. T.J. Dillon have been officers for quite some time. Mullins has 30 years of experience and Dillon has 18. They say over the years, they have run into many situations where they have not been able to contact anyone.

“There was a fatal car accident in the Hurricane area and the couple that passed away in the crash both lived in St. Albans but were new to the area and nobody really knew them,” Dillon said. “The car registration was not up to date and their cell phones were locked. We literally waited with their phones for over three hours until it rang and we could answer it and get the information to their next of kin.”

There was another story where an office was broken into and they went to the office to made sure it was clear and couldn’t find anyone to contact about it. They left a business card on a desk with “call me.”

“We have seen firsthand that not having vital information in an emergency situation can drastically increase the time it takes to provide proper care,” Mullins said.

“It was frustrating,” Dillon said.

Mullins and Dillon said they began searching for a system to better serve the community, but they found nothing, so they decided to take matters into their own hands.

“We wanted a way for first responders to have direct communication and immediate information, so we created it with PatrolSafety.com and the Patrol Safety app,” Dillon said.

Patrol Safety is a web-based app communication tool.

“The app allows someone to put in contact information, medication information, details about what’s in the house, about their relatives, pets, guns and other vital information,” Mullins explained. “They can also list if they’re on vacation, alarm codes, special notes and much more.”

“If someone goes on vacation and they want a random check on their home just to make sure it’s safe, the officer can come and check the door and if there’s no issue, they just simply hit no issue and the end user will immediately receive a text message,” Dillon said. “If you’re away from your business on vacation or out of town and something happens, officers can contact you in real time to let you know something has happened.”

They said for a small subscription fee, a user gets a set of customized decals they can put on their car’s back window, their front door or a window at their home or on the doors of businesses and churches. Each decal has a unique QR code, and the first responders can scan it with their phone and get that information, file a report, take photos and send texts immediately to the subscriber.

“These are secure QR codes. So, not everyone with a QR scanner can scan these. It has to be a first responder who’s been vetted and been cleared through patrol safety,” Dillon added.

Mullins said the app is free for all first responder groups.

“Now with Patrol Safety, we can get this on our phones, we can contact dispatch and dispatch can run it and give us the emergency contact information,” Mullins said.

Mullins and Dillon said the app was developed with the help of Bulldog Creative in Huntington.

Chris Michael, president and CEO of Bulldog Creative, said developing and refining the app took six months.

“The Patrol Safety team came to us with a great idea for an interactive platform that allowed first responders to get critical information in a short period of time,” Michael said. “We worked closely with their team over the next six months to develop and refine the app. We’ve continued to work with their team to add functionality and make improvements. We worked hard to make it user-friendly for both the consumers and first responders. It’s a web-based app, so it can be accessed through their website and on mobile devices.”

Michael said the app is a powerful tool for first responders.

“It’s going to save lives and make an impact,” he said. “We’re proud just to be a part of it.”

The app is currently being used in Kanawha and Putnam counties, but plans are to roll it out both statewide and eventually across the country.

“We have a meeting set up with Cabell County officials and are moving forward with our plans to market it across the country,” Mullins said.

For more information or to subscribe, visit the online website at https://patrolsafety.com/.

Fred Pace is the business reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

Fred has been in the newspaper industry for 30+ years. He continues to be excited to bring readers news that only comes thru local journalism. “Being able to share the passion felt by entrepreneurs in our community with readers is exciting,” he said.

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