When the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Service (Women in Fire) obtained funding several years ago, their website was one of their first priorities.
“As part of a grant received, we had money to rebuild our website,” said Kimberly Cox, Executive Director of Women in Fire. Since 2016, First Arriving has been their partner for building, managing and supporting their website, as well as their membership outreach efforts, annual event registration, event app and more.
Cox said they looked at several proposals and found that First Arriving was the most helpful because its leadership comes from the fire service. Its team was able to help Cox formulate her organization’s message and advise what information and features did or didn’t need to be on the new site. “Dave [Iannone, First Arriving CEO] knows who our audience is,” Cox said, “and that’s really helpful.”
Cox was also looking for someone to take over their ongoing website maintenance and updates. “I told them I can handle most of the things in the office, but websites are not one of them,” Cox said. “We were really looking for somebody that would be hands-on for us.”
That support makes it possible to focus on their work as a non-profit organization providing education, support and advocacy for women in the fire service, Cox said. They provide resources including mentoring, networking and events for women and for men working to make the fire service a professional and harmonious workplace for all.
Women in the Fire Service provides a voice for the estimated 11,0000 women working as U.S. career firefighters and officers, as well as perhaps 40,000 in the volunteer, paid-on-call, part-time and seasonal sectors. Their voice is an influential one, with seats on several committees and task groups of the National Fire Protection Association, and authorship of two handbooks on gender issues in the fire service commissioned by the U.S. Fire Administration. They also participate in advisory groups for the National Fire Academy, and maintain relationships with the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters and the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters.
Their previous website was clunky and was failing to meet the needs of their mission, Cox said. Sometimes when people signed up for memberships or membership products, it just didn’t work. The organization had to monitor new member sign-ups and other activity, but now they can just run a report when they’re ready to view their data.
“First Arriving made it so we don’t have to worry about that,” Cox said. “It’s just a seamless process.”
Cox said that also goes for website updates. “Whenever I send in a request, they’re just right on top of it,” she said. This year, those updates have included pulling conference registrations down right after they were posted, due to Covid-19, as well as posting an increasing number of webinars that Women in Fire is hosting due to this year’s circumstances.
“First Arriving has definitely streamlined our office work and opened up time for other projects,” Cox said. “They have been a great partner to work with and understand our needs.”