What led you to choose First Due, particularly during the early stages when pre-planning was your main focus?
In 2018, the Santa Monica Fire Department embarked on a journey to enhance our technology infrastructure. We wanted to replace our aging systems and leverage emerging technologies to improve our operations. As a part of our technological strategic plan, we identified the need for a modern platform to host pre-incident plans electronically. We wanted to move away from the traditional method of three-ring binders and have the flexibility to build and access plans in the field from our devices.
During an ESRI Conference on the West Coast, we learned about First Due. We were impressed by all that First Due had to offer, sparking our initial contact. When selecting which direction to go with our pre-planning program, we explored First Due further. After a detailed RFP process, First Due emerged as the top contender, and we selected them as our vendor for pre-incident plans.
Today, we heavily utilize First Due and most of its modules, including Fire Inspections, Pre-Plans, and Hydrants. We've also just begun building our Assets Management through First Due.
First Due's suite of solutions has become an integral part of our operations, and we continue to benefit from the comprehensive tools and excellent support First Due provides. We have forged a strong partnership, working together to develop a product that suits our specific needs. It feels like First Due could deliver whatever we requested, which sets it apart for us.
What has the experience been like as you worked with our team to refine, focus, and enhance features? How did this incremental approach contribute to building your First Due suite and ensuring it meets your needs?
Throughout our time working with First Due, our pre-planning program has grown, sparking the realization that we need to incorporate First Due into other areas of our department.
What caught our attention was the integration between all the modules. Having a one-stop-shop for our end users, with centralized data management, was a prominent goal in our strategic plan. As existing customers, having experienced First Due's exceptional customer service, it made perfect sense to tap into other First Due modules. As we've expanded our First Due suite, we've been able to customize and tailor every module to our exact needs and requirements– which has benefited us.
Taking an incremental approach to our strategic plan enabled us to work hand-in-hand with the First Due product team and our Account Executive, Nicholas Dunigan. As a result, we built a suite that works for us. A significant milestone in our journey was the expansion of Fire Prevention.
We worked closely with our former fire marshal, current fire marshal, and other organizational members to roll out our Fire Prevention module. Every step of the way, First Due was receptive to our input and efficiently made necessary adjustments to optimize the system based on our needs.
Implementing and training on the First Due suite has been equally impressive. The training and support offered by First Due's Team have been particularly helpful in rolling out the products we needed to our team members. End-to-end, First Due made onboarding and adoption very easy– we appreciate their ongoing support and dedication toward customer satisfaction. They made the experience of using fire and EMS software feel like an essential piece of lifesaving equipment– which we sincerely appreciate and embrace with confidence.
Overall, we've had a great experience with First Due. It was nothing near an "off-the-shelf solution." We've worked together in a genuine partnership-based relationship to set up an all-in-one software suite.
At First Due, we value being in touch with our market and staying one step ahead of fire and EMS market problems. Can you describe how this has influenced your approach to software?
At Santa Monica Fire, we've had a mutual partnership with First Due that has helped both teams navigate fire and EMS technology challenges. The First Due team listened to our feedback and insights and considered our unique processes and complex operations. We value their consistent collaboration and partnership, ensuring that our solutions align with our specific requirements. In turn, our feedback and insights have helped First Due develop and refine feature sets to solve our problems as a department continuously.
We explored various vendors; however, none of them could adapt software solutions to our processes and software requirements. With First Due, it was different. They worked closely with us to understand our nuanced way of doing business. Having a vendor that prioritized our needs and produced a solution that worked for us was refreshing.
Our partnership with First Due has been instrumental in helping us address the unique challenges faced by our fire department. Working together, we've optimized First Due solutions to simplify operations for our crews and better serve our community. We appreciate First Due's dedication to understanding our needs and providing tailored solutions that align with our processes. First Due has proven to be a trusted partner in the Fire and EMS industry, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.
Where do you see it evolving when it comes to optimization and the future of fire and EMS software?
There is a growing emphasis in our industry on capturing, reporting, and extracting more data. The future of fire and EMS technology is headed in a direction that will enable departments to leverage technology and data to demonstrate outcomes, set standards, and inform decision-making at all levels.
In the short term, one of the critical developments in fire and EMS technology is the increase in integration between different software agencies use. This integration allows seamless connectivity between various systems and tools, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency. It's great to see that many departments and vendors already recognize this integration's value. This trend towards increased partnerships with tech vendors will allow departments to leverage the tools and resources available continuously.
Increasingly, health and wellness are becoming an essential area of focus. An example is using smart watch devices to measure firefighters' heart rates, EKG, and breathing rates during incidents and in hazardous environments. Collecting and analyzing firefighter health, safety, and wellness data helps us begin to understand the effects of exposure to hazardous environments. However, there is a challenge in tying this information to a personnel record repository and linking the series of incidents over time. This data should be accessible down the road to measure firefighters' overall wellness and put preventative safeguards in place.
Fire departments can effectively leverage data for community risk reduction. Departments could proactively measure a wide range of factors, such as incidents and their distribution across different districts and geographic zones. By breaking down data into specific regions, fire departments can better understand the needs and concerns of stakeholders within the community. This data helps departments quantify their impact and determine the outcomes of their efforts. The challenge lies in translating the captured data within a Records Management System (RMS) into meaningful insights that can be conveyed to everyone, from line firefighters to department and city leadership, as well as the broader community. In an ideal circumstance, software can proactively alert department personnel when patterns, trends, or predetermined thresholds occur.
By pulling in incident data and generating reports, departments could detect patterns across the community. For instance, if there is an unexpected surge in opioid-related overdoses in Santa Monica, the department could be alerted for potential hazards and initiate preventive measures. The timely dissemination of information enables fire departments to take swift action in addressing risks and mitigating potential harm to the community. Additionally, departments could coordinate with relevant agencies to address the root causes and prevent further incidents. By leveraging data and actionable insights, fire departments can play an instrumental role in reducing community risk and enhancing public safety.
In conclusion, it all comes down to data acquisition and manipulation. The future of Fire and EMS technology holds great promise in leveraging data to improve operations, enhance firefighter well-being, and reduce community risks. By embracing these advancements, fire departments can continue making a difference in their organizations and communities.