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7 factors to consider in your next information management system

Fire Rescue Systems’ full-suite IMS provides a robust, user-friendly solution that enhances fire department operations


Photo/Fire Rescue Systems

Sponsored by Fire Rescue System

The importance of fire departments using data – collecting it, analyzing it, developing solutions from it – should no longer be in question. The challenge now is how to process more data faster – for preparedness, prevention, operational insights, and firefighter safety and wellbeing. This is where information management systems come into play.

But how can fire department decision-makers identify the right solution for them? Start with the following seven factors:

  1. Comprehensive solution. Look for a vendor that takes a full suite approach to provide an integrated solution that covers the full gamut of fire department operations – a system that provides a comprehensive approach to information management for emergency responses, personnel management, fleet management and facilities management.
  2. Efficient and effective. Your system should enable your people to work smarter, not harder, resulting in better resource use, faster response times and improved overall efficiency. Your firefighters must be able to focus on their critical tasks without dealing with disjointed tools.
  3. Real-time data. The software should provide real-time data on incidents, personnel availability, equipment status and more.
  4. Enhanced communication. The IMS should make for seamless communication of information whether it’s in the dispatch center, a standard operating guideline, a building preplan or a regional response procedure.
  5. Customization. The IMS should be tailored to meet the specific needs of your fire department, whether it’s adapting to local protocols, integrating with existing systems or configuring user roles.
  6. Training and support. The IMS vendor should provide initial training and ongoing support for their product. If your people are ready for response 24/7/365, so too should the customer support for your IMS.
  7. Data security. Fire departments are not immune to cyber-attacks, nor the mischief of an independent hacker, so protecting sensitive information is critical.

The good news: These factors are available via Fire Rescue System’s full-suite IMS solution.

Fire Rescue Systems’ IMS


Photo/Fire Rescue Systems

Fire Rescue System’s full-suite IMS provides a robust, user-friendly solution that enhances fire department operations, promotes efficiency and contributes to better emergency response. Here are several key features of the systems:

  • Dispatch module. Easily access new, active and closed calls for service; units available for response; location information (e.g., preplans, safety data sheets, Know Box locations); incident maps with hydrant locations; and historical response reports (e.g., how many earlier responses to a business, past inspection reports).
  • Roster and attendance. With Roster and Attendance, you can more easily keep track of personnel-related data such as fire and EMS certifications, time worked or volunteered, event attendance, LOSAP (Length of Service Award Program) and more.
  • Finger readers. Biometric finger readers enable each member to use their fingerprint to confirm and timestamp their attendance at an alarm, training, meeting or other event. Even better, the finger readers and supporting finger reader software combine with many of the other modules offered by Fire Rescue Systems, further improving the efficiency of your fire department.
  • Mobile data terminals. Your firefighters and officers responding to emergency calls for service have ready access to CADS information, preplan information, safety data sheets, and more right in vehicle, even if they lose an internet connection.
  • NFIRS. Integrates in real time with the agency responsible for collecting National Fire Incident Reporting System data in your state while compiling all the necessary information for fast and correct reporting. The submission of properly and accurately completed reports to NFIRS has never been easier.
  • Inventory and maintenance. From facilities to response vehicles, from hoses to turnout gear, the Inventory and Maintenance module gives you a powerful tool for asset and facilities management, fleet management, management of work orders and work requests, and more. For example, you can automatically schedule maintenance for vehicles in your department’s fleet by miles, hours, or calendar dates. The module automatically generates maintenance requests from your fire stations; the same maintenance request is used to generate a work order and the necessary purchase orders for the necessary parts and labor.
  • Mobile Responder System. The app designers at Fire Rescue Systems have created an impressive Mobile Responder System (MRS) that provides many key features to keep your firefighters and officers informed, accounted for and safe. The app enables responders to receive key information, including call locations, GPS mapping and general run information. It can even record sign-in data, so your dispatch center and all responding personnel know who is responding to the call for service – need-to-know information, especially for volunteer-staffed departments and combination departments.

The IMS also includes individual texting, group texting and automated paging from dispatch. Your personnel can send updates – reminders of department events and updates affecting the general membership – via the paging function, in real time or pre-scheduling.

Client feedback

Many software vendors talk about customer service, particularly technical support, but Fire Rescue Systems does more than talk. Listen to what some current clients had to say:

“When we were researching which software to use for our dispatch and record system, we reviewed many companies. Many of the companies offered either dispatch or recordkeeping, but few offered both in one system. We narrowed the search, and the deciding factor was RESPONSE TIME. We had a custom software need and FRS came through within five days, and the five days was through a weekend! FRS came through so quickly and efficiently, and the rest was history. FRS is FRIENDLY AND RESPONSIVE. When an issue or need arises, they respond. They are exactly what is needed for all Emergency Service Providers.” — Wantagh (N.Y.) Fire Department

“Our department dispatches for ten towns handling 23,000+ calls a year using Fire Rescue Systems. Not only do they provide us with a great product, but their customer service is also fantastic – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! — Babylon (N.Y.) Central Fire Alarm

Such testimonials should not come as a surprise because Fire Rescue Systems has firefighters and chief officers on staff – in both customer-facing and engineering roles – who have been end users of the software for years.

Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (ret.) served with the Chesterfield (Virginia) Fire & EMS Department for 26 years. He was an instructor for fire, EMS and hazardous materials courses at the local, state and federal levels, which included more than 10 years with the National Fire Academy. Chief Avsec earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his master’s degree in executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University. He is a 2001 graduate of the National Fire Academy’s EFO Program. Beyond his writing for and, Avsec authors the blog Talking “Shop” 4 Fire & EMS and has published his first book, “Successful Transformational Change in a Fire and EMS Department: How a Focused Team Created a Revenue Recovery Program in Six Months – From Scratch.” Connect with Avsec on LinkedIn or via email.