How a Fire District Cut Paperwork for Better Reporting
It’s safe to say that no one becomes a firefighter so that they can do paperwork. More likely, you joined to help save lives and property, improve your community, and do something you really enjoy.
However, the presence of paperwork – reporting metrics, information, and stats to a wide range of requestors – is a necessary and ubiquitous element of today’s fire station. And it’s not just relegated to commanders or officers or admins. Almost every member of the team may be involved in helping compile a required report, whether by pulling the actual numbers or helping input field data correctly at the time of an incident.
More and more stations are looking for the best way to bring their reporting process into modern times, recognizing the fact that poorly completed NEMSIS or NFIRS reports – often rejected because of errors or poor quality – actually suck more time away and reduce efficiencies. Additionally, bring able to easily and quickly meet requests for reports that show value to the community, resource allocations, or operating statistics is vital in ensuring your station’s survival, from both a budgetary and public relations standpoint.
Recently, the Iona-McGregor Fire District in Fort Myers, Florida went on the hunt for a new software tool that would accomplish several goals:
- Save them time submitting reports
- Improve quality of reporting to ensure compliance
- Automate submission process for NEMSIS 3 and NFIRS
- Use available data to improve patient outcomes and department responsiveness
- Highlight value to the community
The district covers roughly 42 square miles, and with five stations and around 12,000 calls per year, the already-busy district was suffering with rejected reports, gaps in its ePCR system, and errors and quality problems in its reporting. The result was a huge waste of time, not to mention aggravation and the hassle of going back to correct and resubmit reports, as well as educate and motivate team members on imputing the correct data from first impression.
The district earmarked a three-person team to research available software tools currently on the market, as well as learn more about what other stations were using, and find a new tool that would improve their own efficiencies and workflow. One of the top candidates was ESO Solutions, and its cutting edge software – as well as the company’s personal history in the EMS and firefighting field – made it an attractive choice.
The ESO team set up a trail environment where the Iona-McGregor team could take a test drive, giving them a true preview of the efficiencies and improvements a new software tool could really deliver. The team immediately gravitated towards the modern, smart-phone like interface features that were similar to what they were used to doing on their phones or tablets, knowing that this would also appeal to the younger, up-and-coming crew members as well.
Additionally, a huge benefit of the ESO software was the guarantee that compliance with standards like NEMSIS 3 would be built into the tool; keeping up with the requirements would fall on the shoulders of ESO rather than the Iona-McGregor district. The fact that the software was based on the “cloud” – meaning that users simply had to log in to the web-based software rather than have it living on hardware in the station – meant that the provider could easily update the software as needed to ensure that is constantly aligned with current requirements and technologies. Removing this headache and concern for years to come was incredibly attractive to the researchers, who knew compliance was vital.
After an extensive decision-making process, the Iona-McGregor district made the final decision to move forward with the ESO software suite for fire departments. ESO tools for fire departments include software for patient care records, NFIRS reporting, preplanning, inspection, and more.
You can view the full Iona-McGregor Fire District Case Study here.