CASE STUDIES & PROJECTS

Digital Dashboards Make Communication Easier for Chicago Heights (IL) Fire Department

“You don’t have to have a significant technical background,”
Communication by email was a problem in the Chicago Heights (IL) Fire Department. Email generated a lot of paperwork and was not reliable for keeping essential information in front of firefighters. A system that displayed unit status, on and off a call, was streamed through a monitor and was “a very old archaic system,” said

Lieutenant Lou Wortel, Training Officer for the Chicago Heights Fire Department. These problems left the fire department looking for a better, visible, reliable communication system.

Lieutenant Wortel said that the fire department already had a larger call dispatching project in the works when they came across the First Arriving digital dashboard platform. “We had seen it in use in another fire department and decided that we wanted it too,” said Lieutenant Wortel.

The dashboards are replacing email and the standard bulletin board as a primary means of easier and more reliable communication. Wortel said using the dashboards and the integrations in them is fluid, and they can be easily managed. “You don’t have to have a significant technical background,” said Wortel.

Lieutenant Wortel added that information on the dashboards and their visibility, “increases everyone’s situational awareness of what is going on, and they don’t have to use phones.”

Chicago Heights’ digital dashboards use several integrations to help improve communication and situational awareness in the fire department. “We have Calendar, Weather, the last 20 fires and EMS calls, turnout times, Halligan, Instagram, Blogs, and First Arriving also made some custom pages for us to use. We also use Image Trend for reports on call volume per day, and where you can see combined year to date numbers at a moment’s notice,” said Wortel.

The First Arriving digital dashboards also reduce the amount of paperwork. “As an officer, I can look at the board any time of the day and see the checks are done,” said Wortel. “The little things make a big difference, and everyone at First Arriving, Shannon, Evan and Lydia have been great to work with.”

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