With new options available to improve the flow of information—and thereby improve operations—it was time to make the leap at Coaldale and District Emergency Services in Alberta, Canada.
“We were looking for a new way to share information with our members,” says Chief Kevin McKeown, “and thought having a dashboard would be a good way to keep people informed of department news, training, road closures, hydrants and weather.”
They also wanted a dashboard they could integrate with Active 911 and Target solutions, and that led them to dashboards by First Arriving. McKeown says they’re pleased with the Active911 integration as it shows them the call along with a map overview with hydrant locations and routing.
“Also, we wanted a chute timer and the dashboard has one built-in with Active911,” McKeown adds.
Coaldale and District Emergency Services is a composite fire department with five full-time employees (fire chief, two deputy chiefs, one firefighter, one admin coordinator) and 32 paid-on-call firefighters. It covers an area of about 326 square miles, including the town of Coaldale and a large area of Lethbridge County, which is mostly agricultural and industrial with several major highways.
“Of our 400-plus calls per year, on average 60 percent are medical and 40 percent fire,” McKeown says. “We respond to quite a few vehicle accidents that require extrication due to the numerous primary and secondary highways in our jurisdiction.”
The department currently has one dashboard in its apparatus bay where firefighters congregate most, making it easy to take a quick look for department news and updates. Their goal is to place a second dashboard in their training room once their fire hall construction is complete, McKeown says, as feedback has been positive.
“Our CAO loves the dashboard,” McKeown says, “and our members are enjoying it. They like the integration with Active 911 and the live weather alerts and updates.”
McKeown has already recommended dashboards by First Arriving to other area fire departments. In addition to the integrations, he says, “The most beneficial thing about the system is the ability to communicate important information to your staff.”