COVID-19 has changed every industry, including Fire Departments. While every profession tackles its own ‘firefighting’ against the effects of the pandemic, firefighters themselves across the nation are experiencing budget cutbacks, furloughs, and worst of all, possible fire station shutdowns.
During this global pandemic, we still need our essential emergency services to serve the public. But how do you continue to do so? The answer could lie in reinventing yourself through technology and build upon public trust.
Public trust comes from how the community perceives the value from any emergency service. The value for money, when it comes to their tax dollars is their priority — any politician or city manager worth their salt knows this. Now, you should too. It comes down to a basic idea. In order for people to feel this value, fire services need to be visible in the community. If you’re seen by those who need you, they know you have their backs.
Fire Prevention Officers are making incredible improvements in the productivity of pre-planning and inspections.
Fire prevention and fire suppression have transformed response over the past twenty years, but that also means that the fire service has become less visible. But being seen doesn’t have to happen on the streets. Most taxpayers keep up to date on their community instantly through the real-time news on their smartphone. The same is happening with the fire service.
The issue is that between equipment, personnel and training – having all of this on standby – Fire Departments are incredibly expensive to run. Further and crucially, the sign your fire department is doing a good job, when it comes to Fire Prevention and Inspection, is that regular members of the public don’t require the most dramatic of services – that is seeing your fire trucks screaming down the streets on their way to an emergency call.
Fire Prevention Officers are making incredible improvements in the productivity of pre-planning and inspections, and gaining access to more detailed building information than ever before. Community stakeholders, such as building and business owners, are receiving concise and efficient Fire Inspection Reports, and fire departments are gaining more public trust.
It’s time for fire departments to realize the opportunity that tech presents when it comes to protecting their communities.
It’s time for fire departments to realize the opportunity that technology presents when it comes to protecting their communities. Communities still need to feel the department’s presence so that they can feel confident that their taxes are being used well, and the latest technologies are making it far easier to keep communities safer with sharable and interactive pre-plans and inspections.
Thankfully, technology provides a solution that all firefighters can easily embrace. Departments across the country are already feeling the benefits of modernizing, and seeing the cost-savings while keeping their communities safer.
Take the Fire Department of Monterey, California – with a merger of several municipal departments, each with a pre-planning process, it was time to consolidate and rethink pre-planning for the department. Naturally, they embraced Smart Tech, and it made a huge improvement to their productivity (not to mention, a 20% in cost saving). Brendan Connolly, firefighter at Monterey Fire Department explains;
“This is pre-planning for the 21st century, where a fire company can go out, spend time at the building with an iPad in hand, and have a completed pre-plan by the time they get back to the rig.”
The time to adapt to the digital world is now, before that much-needed tax money has been reallocated elsewhere. Without adapting to the times, budget cuts and worse could be on the horizon. Staying connected will make the world safer for all of us.
About the author: Paul Martin is the founder and CEO of APX Data – first to introduce to fire departments a smart mobile approach to efficiently and economically protect their community meeting ISO, FUS, CAFI and NFPA standards.