Could you tell us a little bit more about how you’ve transformed your department's operations with First Due?
It's been a work in progress. I’ve been implementing First Due over the last few years. We started off using First Due for our pre-plans and inspections, and then gradually implemented First Due in other areas of our operations as time went on. This past year, we started using First Due to track our assets and inventory and over the summer we were told we had to find our own EMS reporting software because the company we had previously used was sunsetting over. It came down to either going to another company or keeping everything under one umbrella with First Due. This past fall, we decided to host our entire operation on First Due and worked with Client Success Manager Joe Callahan and Account Executive Erik Haversang to get everything Implemented and up and running.
Overall, First Due has modernized our operation. Getting all our pre-plans forward has helped us tremendously. Crews can call out locations of hydrants and their sizes. We also brought in our GIS layers for our water mains, and we can even see what size hydrants are on that main. We’ve even simplified our inspections process. We were once doing inspections with pen and paper; now, they have a more professional look with a header and have follow-up procedures.
Recently, we have been discussing using First Due for our fire investigations and looking at how fire marshals can start using the platform to simplify their process.
With First Due, Freeport fire department has its entire operation under one platform and access to a dedicated Client Success team. How has this impacted Freeport fire department?
First Due gave us one go-to platform. It's the ease of getting everything under one umbrella with one login. We didn't have to worry about managing multiple logins for different areas of the organization. Crews and officers don't have to access different programs and log information when they've already logged in on the NFIRS side. It's all under one umbrella in different modules. We’re able to communicate with each other from every area of our operation, from the pre-plans side to the reporting side and back and forth.
Two years ago, we had a big push to modernize our operations. It was a learning curve initially for me and the team, but we followed along, and everything fell into place. Technology can be a bit of a struggle initially, but everyone was able to move along quickly and figured it out. Once they realize how easily the system flows for them, they fell right into First Due. I worked with the First Due Client Success Team for the transition, and they obviously had it down.
It's clear that the designers of First Due products have an emergency services background. This knowledge of public safety helps tremendously in First Due with the design elements all the way to customer service. I could describe a scenario to Client Success and they just get it. My department’s Client Success Representative, Joe Callahan, is following from Step One and knows exactly what we’re talking about. Having a relationship with people on the other side of the computer screen or phone and they know exactly what you’re looking for, how to manage it, and how to guide you has been a huge piece of modernizing our operation.
Before First Due, how was your crew managing operations?
For the most part, we were lucky if we were doing things in Excel. Our scheduler was done in Excel and our pre-plans were in binders; lots of pen and paper. This is sometimes seen as the traditional way but that’s just the way we’ve always done it. It “worked”, but it was time to modernize. First Due has brought us forward dramatically. Now, officers have the pre-plans on the tablets, right at the tip of their fingers. It was a big change for the team, and they love it because everything is right there now. They see everything before they even get on scene!
Can you describe what influenced your decision to choose First Due for your reporting software over other companies?
The company we previously were working with for reporting was changing reporting vendors and we had the option to stay with them or find another vendor. We were initially on Firehouse. The customer service experience at First Due is a huge reason why we decided to switch our operation over to First Due when we had to find another reporting software. I’m happy we made the switch.