The College Park City Council met Tuesday night to discuss a grant in partnership with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, the selection of a new auditor and the introduction of a charter amendment.
The city council unanimously approved a grant application to the National Institute of Standards and Technology to partner with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute in studying interior building mapping.
Previously, a building would be pre-mapped by walking around in it, but with the institute's new equipment, drones would map the interior of some major buildings in College Park — including the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and McKeldin Library — to help first responders in emergency situations, said Paul Flippin, the institute's special programs manager.
"There's a big movement across the country with regard to mapping … firefighter accountability, being able to track firefighters and know where they are," in addition to being able to pre-map a building, Flippin said.
The city's public services director, Bob Ryan, will manage the project, which is slated to cost $161,000. Flippin will serve as deputy manager.
"Other agencies are really getting into this effort to begin to use technology to number one, map buildings," he said. "So if a firefighter goes down in a building you'll know where he is. Maybe being able to look at conditions beforehand so that a firefighter won't go into a dangerous condition unwarranted."
Mayor Patrick Wojahn said this partnership is "another great opportunity to show off the innovation and exciting work that we have in College Park," calling the institute "a great institution and a great program."
The council also voted unanimously to approve a four-year, $60,880 contract for audit services with Lindsey and Associates of Towson. The city chooses a different auditor every four years.
"Here, auditors cannot serve for more than four consecutive years," Finance Director Gary Fields said. "It keeps everybody on the up-and-up, it gets new, fresh eyes on the books."
The five firms up for consideration were all "very qualified," he said, and had similar technical proposals.
No council members had any questions or comments on the matter.
The city council voted unanimously to introduce a charter amendment, which will largely be clarifying the status quo, according to city attorney Suellen Ferguson. The public hearing will take place on April 24.