The First Arriving Story


In 1998, First Arriving founders and lifelong first responders Dave Iannone and Chris Hebert created one of the first and largest at the time B2B web portals – fire service website, Over the years, they expanded the platform into law enforcement, EMS, security and over a dozen other vertical markets.

After a few different stops that included creating the largest social networks in public safety, the events industry and B2B media pre-Facebook, Chris and Dave founded First Arriving, LLC in 2013 with a mission of furthering the fire and emergency services online. The company started as a marketing and website shop for some of the biggest brands and non-profits in the industry, later adding services for website creation for fire departments and agencies directly.

In 2017, they added recruitment and retention programs along with video production, starting with statewide campaigns in South Carolina and Maryland. Recruitment guru Tiger Schmittendorf joined the team as Vice President of R&R.

In 2018, driven by a desire to keep his own fire department better informed, Dave found a company called Wondersign that had a product PSIN — digital information screens for the fire service. Immediately impressed by the level of internal communication the product had, First Arriving acquired PSIN later that year.

The company moved to new offices in Ashland (VA) in April 2019, allowing for the space needed for the growing company.

In August 2020, Shannon Gilliland joined the company as its Chief Operating Officer. She now leads First Arriving’s strategic services arm.

Meanwhile, Alex Ford had founded leading law enforcement portal in 1999, later adding sites in adjacent public safety markets as CEO of Praetorian Digital, acquired by Lexipol in 2019. Alex served as Lexipol’s CEO.

As First Arriving’s technology and marketing services grew together, it became clear there was a significant opportunity for dashboards and communication tools such as websites to become a much more powerful platform. Working with Alex, we formally spun off the Technology business as a subsidiary, First Arriving IO, Inc. in 2021 — allowing for the focus and investment needed to maximize the software platform opportunity.

Alex, already an investor and strategic advisor to First Arriving, joined the new company as its Chairman, bringing with him deep SaaS experience and partners to accelerate First Arriving IO’s growth. Steve Ressler, an icon and serial entrepreneur in the local government tech space also signed on board as a strategic advisor as the company expanded its offerings beyond just public safety.

Our SaaS platform suite —  dashboards / digital signage and website services that exist today — are being bolstered by a best-in-class Intranet and App launching later in 2022 to provide a dynamic platform for our existing public safety and local government markets as well as new verticals. Our platform not only sits on top of existing SaaS services, but bolts on key essential features to streamline workflow and centralize mission-critical information – making it available when and where it’s needed most

We reached a milestone in late 2021 with our 200th produced video and expanded our dedicated multimedia services team with new photographers and creative designers.

In January 2022, First Arriving was named to the prestigious GovTech 100 list. The GovTech 100 is an annual list compiled and published by Government Technology as a compendium of the top 100 companies focused on, and making a difference in, state and local government agencies.

Nate Davis, formerly of Aladtec,  joined our SaaS team as its Chief Revenue Officer, focused on growing the company’s business development, client success and marketing teams.

And not to be outdone, our strategic services continues to expand greatly — adding Association Management to our stable of products with the Fire & Apparatus Manufacturers and Services Association and more recently the Pro Board. We’ve onboarded new B2B and non-fire service recruitment clients, too.

All in, our passion carries through to the services we provide — dynamic, best-in-class services and products that drive our customers and partners forward.