Decisions [D4H] – Web App for Emergency Response Teams

Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue training

There is no such thing as a risk free life. There is no perfectly safe place. Making personal security your only focus can only lead to physical atrophy and certain madness. Conversely, at the other extreme, where the reckless and irresponsible hang out, you have the inescapable law of messy actions leading to messy results. However, keeping to the safer middle ground is no guarantee of staying free of mishap. Even with the best planning and preparation things can go wrong and help in a hurry from others may be needed.

Mercifully, in many of our societies, we have a whole gamut of organizations to get us out of trouble, rescue us from the elements, save us from folly, and extract us from disaster. The people involved commit their time and energy for low or no pay. They submit themselves to regular training and make themselves available to be called out in all sorts of weathers to come to the aid of those in trouble.

Along with acquisition of technique and competence a tremendous amount of local knowledge has been built up over the years. However, useful records that could have been otherwise easily accessed and shared have been stored away on pieces of paper in filing cabinets and the odd spread sheet here and there. Not a wholly efficient state of affairs.

Robin Blandford is an electrical engineering graduate from UCD and volunteer cliff-rescue climber for the Irish Coast Guard. He realised that not only would it be a good idea to create a web app to facilitate recording and accessing this information but that there was also a business opportunity. So, he started Decisions [D4H].

According to Robin, Decisions [D4H] runs and maintains, “A web application that is used by emergency response teams. They use it to make better decisions to save more lives. They use it as a daily management tool. It looks for patterns and trends in their data between their training, incident records, and equipment maintenance, etc., to help them optimize long-term what they’re doing.

“We’re making it easier. If you’re responding to an incident you’ll write up a report of what happened at the incident. Same with you’re training – you’ll take attendance records. We automate the process with a really nice, easy to use, interface that helps them all the way.”

Robin says his normal customer would be a team leader. For example, one of his clients is the emergency response team at a large oil refinery in Canada. “So, if there was a fire on site or if there was an accident those guys would be tasked internally. What we do is help the team leader, the training officer, the equipment maintenance guy, to make sure all their records are in place [and} the team is compliant.”

Robin is going to be in Galway on Tuesday, January 15, to give a talk at the second session of Exponential. The subject will be Awesome Methodology. This an approach to business creation that starts at the end first. When starting a project it is very worthwhile, and certainly more fun, to answer for oneself such questions as:

How do you come with an idea that is awesome?
How to have a company with great culture?
How to approach a general market or a niche market?

“When starting a business you are completely in control of what the end result will be. Build something somewhere that you would like to work so that it is the type of culture that you want to work in. Have a product that is the type of product that you want to have.

In Robin’s case he found that he had no interest at all in a business based on ordering and moving inventory so for him, “That means having a digital product.”

Of course, another person could envision something else entirely different by asking themselves these sort of questions. With its emphasis on creating a highly personal solution beyond just that has clear implications beyond the purely commercial, Awesome Methodology is a concept that can be applied to most life situations.

(Speaking of awesome — Decisions [D4H] is headquartered in the extraordinarily appropriate Bailey Lighthouse over looking Dublin Bay. It is still fully operational and has been guarding the one of the main shipping routes between Ireland the UK for almost 200 years.)

Exponential 2
Tuesday, January 15
6/7 Quay Lane,
Spanish Parade,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s