CASE STUDIES & PROJECTS

Dashboard Visual Appeal Helps South King (WA) Fire Rescue Communicate Better

"The First Arriving dashboard..., it's pretty hard not to see it,"

Communication within any fire department is complex – especially if that department has been growing to meet increasing demands in the coronavirus pandemic. Getting the correct information to a deskless workforce at the right time affects operations, safety, and wellness.

South King Fire rescue previously relied on email, SharePoint, and logbooks as their primary means of communication with battalion chiefs. However, when Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Crossen moved from Operations to Planning and began working on the department’s accreditation and means of communication, he learned they were struggling and looking for a way to share information that is easily seen. “We were all looking for different ways to communicate,” Crossen said.

The department had discussed using First Arriving’s digital dashboard platform and noted that a neighboring fire department, Renton Regional Fire Authority, was using it as well, Crossen said. “We also determined that it would be good for our central training division that works with the 13 fire departments here in the area for their communication,” he added.

The visual appeal of First Arriving’s dashboards is key in solving the communication problems for South King. “The First Arriving dashboard…, it’s pretty hard not to see it,” Crossen said. The department has since placed dashboards in every firehouse kitchen, department shop, and city hall. It is adding additional dashboards to the apparatus bays of each firehouse.

Along with the immediate visual attraction of the dashboards, the department has added several integrations to them, to further optimize their communication. Active911, SharePoint, Workforce Telestaff, and traffic cameras are their current integrations.

“Surprisingly, the weather first captured the crew’s attention and comments,” Crossen said. “We also have a tide table for use with our new fireboat, and the traffic cameras give the crews a constant idea of the road conditions.” In addition to the weather, the department also monitors air quality on the dashboard, as it pertains to training. They are looking at adding integrations using First Watch, ESRI, ESO, and Target Solutions.

Crossen said they use Google Slides for personnel acknowledgments, awards, information about the new fireboat and apparatus, new hires, ceremonies, turnout time data, and education opportunities. They have also found the digital dashboard good for sending out information about COVID-19 mask requirements.

“First Arriving has been wonderful. The biggest plus to your product is the visual presentation,” Crossen said. “We also use the dashboards for when we have “-radio watch-,” when our radio system is down for maintenance. Everyone can look on the dashboard and see what the status is.” They also plan to put YouTube training videos on the dashboard, and the training division will begin to add their own, Crossen said. This further increases the communication capabilities of the department in a significant way and ensures essential information is not lost.

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