Why Fire Departments Must Take Data Seriously

Why Fire Departments Must Take Data Seriously

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 11:39

Heroes save lives. Whether you are in a volunteer department or on a large team in an urban area, when you are on a call, you are doing the work of a hero. From the mundane to the frightening, on the other end of each call is someone that needs help and at the very least feels their situation is dire enough to dial 911. To effectively reach them with a potentially life-saving solution, every second counts. Every small piece of knowledge helps reduce the number of ticks on the clock it will take to reach them.

That knowledge comes from the data you collect before, during, and after each of your trucks roll out. Knowing all you can about your community helps increase situational awareness. Collecting data can feel tedious and mundane, but armed with the right information, it saves lives. Here are things you can do to take data more seriously at your fire department:

Five Ways To Better Collect and Implement Fire Department Data

1) Create a Better Incident Pre-Plan Workflow

Incident pre-planning often feels like a necessary evil. It is absolutely vital to collect as much information as possible about each building, road, fire hydrant location, and narrow alley in your community. However, gathering that data can be tedious. The StreetWise suite of software includes an incident pre-plan wizard that makes your pre-incident survey much easier. Based on the NFPA 1620 guidelines, the software walks you step-by-step through all the important details while allowing for the instant addition of photos. Our pre-plan wizard will save an exponential amount of time and energy for your department. 

2) Use Technology To Implement Your Pre-Plans

You can have charts, photos, maps, and descriptions of everything in your community, but you cannot expect your firefighters to memorize all of those details. First responders need to have quick access to pre-plan information. With StreetWise, your pre-incident survey data is instantly uploaded to the cloud and added into your Streetwise system. That means it is always available at your fingertips. When a call comes in, all of your paramedics, firefighters, and dispatchers have what they need to make informed decisions, including:

  • The size and construction of the building
  • The location and adequacy of primary water supplies
  • Access points, key boxes, gate codes, and staging locations
  • The number of people who should be in a building at any given time
  • The locations of sprinkler connections, standpipes, and smoke exhaust systems 
  • Any potentially hazardous materials 

With the right information readily available, everyone's situational awareness improves. 

3) Use Data to Raise Everyone's Situational Awareness

Surprises are the worst enemy of first responders. The safety of your firefighters and paramedics is threatened when the data is incorrect or outdated. With the right technology, the situational awareness of each person can be raised. From dispatchers to firefighters, it is vital to put the data in the right hands. When your data is thorough, up to date, and accessible, it elevates everyone's knowledge and helps alleviate surprises. 

4) Collect Good Data During and After Each Call

Your primary responsibility on a call is, of course, mitigating an emergency. You are thinking about how to save lives, protect property, and keep your first responders safe. Your adrenaline is flowing, and you are hyper-focused on the task at hand. Afterward, when the adrenaline stops, you may feel like you are ready to crash. However, the best time to collect data is while the details are still fresh. The key is to have your software do the hard work for you. Our software records vital information during and after the call. While your first responders will still need to tell their stories, you can trust StreetWise to gather the finer details. 

5) Use Tools and Technology to Bring Your Data Together

When it comes to raising situational awareness for your department and first responders, there is no substitute for having accurate data. However, even with the best information, if it is not readily accessible, you are only halfway there. The key to both gathering and implementing good data is the right technology. 

StreetWise CADlink is real software for departments that are serious about getting the most from tablet computers or replacing clunky and expensive laptops. You can use it as a standalone MDT or implement it into your Emergency Reporting® NFIRS report. With StreetWise, you get the information you need into the hands of the people responsible for saving lives and protecting property. Your entire team will be armed with the knowledge they need to keep each other safe. Unlike most systems that are designed with police departments in mind, StreetWise is developed by firefighters and paramedics. If you want to know more about how you can collect and implement useful data, contact the team at StreetWise today. We want to make sure you are getting and using the best information every time your team goes out.