Dashboard Information Sparks Competition in Zebulon (NC) Fire Department

"We were always looking in the rearview mirror, First Arriving gives us the data present time, what we’re doing now. It killed several birds with one stone."

The Zebulon Fire Department is a combination department serving the Town of Zebulon and the Wakelon Fire District in North Carolina. Like most fire departments, they face a growing demand for services as well as an increased need to make sure personnel have up-to-date information necessary for responding to emergency calls.

It was at a meeting in a neighboring town’s fire department that Zebulon Fire Chief Chris Perry noticed a large screen running through various slides of information in the background during the meeting. The screen was showing calls and other information and when he inquired about it that was his introduction to First Arriving digital dashboards

“They had a lot in there and that’s what drew us to First Arriving,” said Chief Chris Perry. “We have rapidly growing residential areas with a lot of new streets and subdivisions. The call alerting, the situational awareness that the dashboard provides, along with mutual aid information, this is what we were looking for, a better way to have the status of this information.”

The department started off wanting three things from the digital dashboard platform: call alerting; situational awareness with mutual aid information; and call metrics with turnout times. “We were always looking in the rearview mirror, First Arriving gives us the data present time, what we’re doing now. It killed several birds with one stone,” said Chief Perry. “We used to display simple CAD information. It was rough around the edges. Now they see much more than before. The First Arriving staff has really been good helping to ensure we didn’t lose any information.”

The Zebulon Fire Department’s digital dashboard comes with integrations from Active 911Emergency ReportingAladtecweather reporting, and more. The First Arriving staff also developed a scrolling board with unit status to be displayed.

“I was sending an email at the end of each month with each shift’s past month’s turnout times.  Now, with the turnout time indicators (gauges) that reflect the turnout time of the first-out units, they can see this as each call occurs. It has created competition among the three shifts. Competition has been huge as shifts try to outperform each other. We exceeded our turnout goal for the first-time since tracking the information and are on track to continue to exceed goals,” said Perry.


Department-wide training information, especially mandatory training like FIT testing, is placed on the digital dashboard using Google Slides, and is a great way to continue to remind people.

Chief Perry said the digital dashboard platform keeps things in the forefront of your mind. For equipment that is out of service, you can do a quick look to see about expediting the repair or become aware of the implications, like a hydrant out of service.

“If you have needs you would like to address, propose those ideas to the First Arriving staff. That’s how we got the screens we use.”


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