Computers and software may not be as iconic as ladders and hoses, but they’re still essential equipment for fire departments in the 21st century, and the new software will assist with both response and records management.
All fire departments in Burlington County received the software upgrade under a purchasing agreement approved by the county commissioners. Burlington County assumed the cost of the updated software implementation, file transferring, training and software launch.
“Members of Burlington County’s fire services put their lives on the line to preserve life and property and we support them by making sure they have the equipment and technology needed to help them do their jobs safely and efficiently,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Public Safety. “This software upgrade will help with their response to fires and with planning and preparations. It will also help them manage records efficiently so they can remain focused on their mission.”
The new software – called First Due – was purchased as a replacement for the county’s existing Firehouse software. All local fire departments have now received the upgraded software and their personnel are undergoing training with it.
The new program is currently in use alongside the old software while fire personnel learn the new system. First due will completely replace the old system on Jan. 1.
The software integrates with Burlington County Central Communications dispatch center and Computer Assisted Dispatch system, which sends data about the location and nature of the emergency and other basic information to firefighter vehicles and mobile apps. Information about the response, including the fire departments involved and the fire apparatus that was dispatched is also sent to the fire departments’ records managers to document in required reports.
The system provides firefighters with easy access to important records related to housing occupancies, hydrants, GIS data, hazardous materials and various contacts. These records can assist departments with their planning and responses to incidents and emergencies.
Training, personnel and equipment records are also easily managed and stored with the new system.
“Public safety is one of our top priorities and we’re taking this step to ensure our county’s fire departments have new software to assist them in as many ways as possible,” said Eckel. “There’s also financial savings for these departments, which would likely face significantly greater expenses if they sought to purchase and install similar records systems on their own. By the county taking the lead, all fire departments save and benefit from our Information Technology staff’s expertise.”