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Mobile app will help volunteer fire departments evaluate manpower

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, at 6:14 p.m.

Volunteer fire departments should know in advance whether they have enough manpower when the call comes in – and that’s a business opportunity, say two Wichita entrepreneurs.

Local designer and programmer Carlos Fernandez and entrepreneur and Hesston fire captain Stephen Owens have created a mobile application called Page-Out.

Page-Out is a patent-pending application that allows fire and EMS volunteers to record on a website, via smartphone, whether they are available. When a 911 call comes in, the fire captain will be able to tell within seconds how much manpower there is. Typically, volunteers alert their captains that they are leaving town by texting or phone calls. Sometimes, Owens said, the captain may not have a good idea who is available until he sees who shows up at a fire.

Owens and Fernandez have been developing Page-Out for more than a year. In addition to the pending patent, they have a small office in downtown Wichita and several part-time employees.

They will do a soft launch this week and start marketing Page-Out.

“There are 37,000 volunteer fire departments, and that doesn’t even touch the EMS departments,” Owens said. “So the market is there.”

Owens said there is no competing product. They will advertise in publications that go to volunteer fire departments and firefighters and plan to attend conventions. They also plan to expand their database of Kansas volunteer fire department names and e-mail addresses.

“We think it will sell itself if we can show it to them,” Owens said.

For more information, go to www.page-out.com.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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