Renton Regional Fire Authority, covering a region south of Seattle, Washington hosts as little of their data on site as possible, by design, says Information Technology Manager Scott Dominguez. While storing their data in the cloud minimizes risk, “At some point we have to bring all those pieces together to create a visual representation of the information,” he says. “That was where First Arriving came in, as the means, or the transport, to get that information physically onto big screens in the stations.”
Now Renton has digital dashboards deployed in seven stations and plans to add more, Dominguez says. Their integrations with multiple data tools make it possible to put all of Renton’s key data in front of those who need to see it, in a clear and useful way. Those in the emergency services can’t always sit down with coffee and read emails, Dominguez noted, so the best way to get information to them is to put it in their common areas.
“It’s like a visual intercom,” Dominguez says. “That’s how I picture it.”
The department in King County provides residential, commercial and urban/wildland fire services within the city of Renton, Fire District 25, and Fire District 40. Their EMS teams operate as part of the Medic One/King County EMS system. They first learned of First Arriving through one of their firefighters, who heard about it from a friend in Arizona, Dominguez says.
Once they did their research and spoke to First Arriving, they decided integrating their data through dashboards made sense for them. “We want to make this as simple as possible for the people who use it,” Dominguez says. “The best idea is the one with least complexity or moving pieces.”
By creating an additional channel of communication, the dashboard system not only provides redundancy and reliability, but also higher engagement. That’s because the department can tailor each station to receive the metrics that are relevant to it, format them in a way that is interesting, and allow the station to add their own additional announcements, etc.
“The technology is super simple,” Dominguez says. “The challenge is just to create something relevant for the stations—things that they can relate to in such a way that they will enjoy it.”
At Renton, as a cloud-centric organization, they use multiple providers to hold their data, and then combine and translate that data into real-time analytics on their dashboards. They can pull whatever metrics they need, Dominguez explains, such as each station’s time from dispatch to arrival.
The coordination to implement this system has been smooth between their data providers and First Arriving, Dominguez says, and has enabled additional improvements at the department. Since launching their dashboards, Renton has sought feedback from their members and will continue to look at how they might use First Arriving to further optimize their data display going forward.
“The best people to design this are themselves,” Dominguez says, “and I’m a true believer of that.”