Software is a vital component of the fire service. It is instrumental at every level of firefighting, from dispatch to station management. Yet, fire department software has failed to reach its full potential due to a lack of trust in its functionality.
This shortcoming is the result of two related factors. First, that firefighters hesitate to integrate with these systems due to a lack of trust in its reliability. Second, and more significantly, that these softwares have failed to inspire that trust. The truth is that the fire service as a whole has yet to receive the high-quality, simple and powerful software it deserves. Current department management softwares have many shortcomings which are not inherent to their function. They make firefighters work much harder than they need too by forcing them to duplicate and enter their data manually. Integrating the processes of creating and submitting data should be central to every piece fire department of software. Their software should also be social. The fire service is inherently collaborative and their software should foster that. This fostering includes functionality like user profiles, message boards, and data sharing between departments to make things like mutual aid incident reporting easier.
The simple translation of paper forms into boring and clunky software is not the direction firefighters want their software going. In order to get this software right, it needs to be built from the ground up with firefighters in mind, not repurposed for their use. It also needs to be modern, utilizing cutting edge technology to give firefighters the best resources available to do their job. Software doesn’t have to be complicated. It should be just as easy to use and reliable as the other tools firefighters use every day.