If you ask a firefighter why he or she joined the fire department, you will hear answers like:
- I want to help people
- I want to serve my community
- I like fighting fire
- I like mental and physical challenges.
An answer you will never hear is “I like paperwork” because no firefighter…anywhere, anytime, ever…joins the fire department to do paperwork.
Firefighters are always working to serve their communities, improve their readiness and hone their skills. They train regularly, they maintain equipment, they conduct regular truck and equipment inspections, and they provide fire safety education. They have first-hand information about potential dangers within their communities and how to manage them. In all things, and without exception, firefighters can be counted on to give everything they have in face of challenging and dangerous circumstances. Increasingly, they must also be able detail what that best effort looked like and how they remain in a constant state of readiness.
This administrative burden of fire department management is growing, particularly for community-based fire departments that are often staffed by volunteers and lack the budget to use many of the available records management software. Many departments are using multiple software subscriptions, one to manage alerts from dispatch, one to give firefighters a way to respond, and another to manage fire departments records and reporting (if they can afford it). Many are using a paper-based system that is becoming more and more unmanageable. Regardless of size and budget, fire departments must track and manage personnel, equipment, training, maintenance, and incident reporting obligations.
FireQ is a complete fire department records management solution for fire departments that evolved from providing firefighters with two-way communication for receiving and responding to emergency dispatch alerts. In addition to providing alerts from dispatch and response options for firefighters, it also provides records management software that is easy-to-use, affordable, and robust. The FireQ records management software includes:
- Personnel management – The FireQ Member Statistics feature provides a detailed record of how many hours are served by each firefighter; a comparison of the hours served against total department statistics; what types of activities made up those hours; firefighter qualifications; firefighter availability; years of service; training; PPE and equipment issuance; and clothing size.
- Inventory tracking – Equipment and apparatus – as well as maintenance logs – can be created, tracked, and managed through FireQ. Expiry dates can also be entered and FireQ sends reminder alerts.
- Incident report creation and management – FireQ has robust incident reporting that, in some provinces, is linked to provincial FIRS reporting systems. The internal FireQ report is automatically created with each incident and is pre-populated with dispatch start and stop times. The information captured in the internal report drives department statistics, while also offering a space to capture all incident details.
- Asset mapping – FireQ allows firefighters to add assets, resources, and community points of reference to their maps. These maps can be shared that information with other FireQ departments. Map layers can be created by the fire department; or the FireQ development team can assist with pre-existing GIS data. Asset mapping information is available to firefighters via a smartphone.
- Pre-plans – With drag-and-drop simplicity, FireQ systems include storage and organization of pre-plans (and other supporting documents) that are available to firefighters via their smart phone. FireQ accepts your existing pre-plans without the need to re-create them in a formed template.
Good records can provide information, keep firefighters safe, inform decision making, track performance, set benchmarks, identify areas for improvement, save time and effort, provide a record of department decisions, demonstrate due diligence, ensure accountability, increase the opportunities for success. The absence of good records is most keenly felt after something has gone wrong, during the analysis of what was done well and what should be improved.
The reasons for the increasing paperwork burden are varied – evolving standards, changing legislative requirements, increasing accountability, and the need for data-driven decisions; and, as a result, the days of training sign-in sheets, photo-copied inventory lists and burgeoning file cabinets are over. Record keeping is quickly becoming one of the biggest challenges faced by fire departments everywhere, particularly those located in small communities. FireQ is an affordable fire department records management software that includes accessible records management, pager redundancy, and provides a way for firefighters to receive emergency alerts and respond from their phones. Isn’t it about time that your fire department has a complete solution, in one place, for one price.