Fire RMS Basics: Software That Benefits Fire Departments
Today’s fire departments are increasingly facing the blessing and the curse of large amounts of data. From incident reports and inspections to personnel information and electronic patient care records (ePCRs), data is pouring into the department, waiting for review, then used to inform and improve.
Add to that the numerous requests for reporting from a long list of national and local organizations, getting a handle on your department’s “data deluge” is more important than ever to the operational efficiency and insight. But where do you start?
Many departments realize that the old paper-and-pen systems of tracking and storing information are no longer feasible for today’s fire department. There is simply too much information coming in, too many required reports going out, and too many more-important jobs for your team to tackle. Your department needs digital records – easy to create, sort, and review – accessible at any time and from anywhere.
What exactly is an RMS?
For many industries, the answer to the data overload problem is a record management software (RMS) tool, and the fire industry is no exception. Today’s top RMS tools designed for fire departments not only simplify the input of department data, but make it easy to analyze your records, keep them updated, and turn them into useful information that can improve efficiencies, safety, and community care.
Fire Records Management System software is a collection of software designed to enhance fire department operations, data collection, and service to communities. These tools can help you meet your current and evolving demands with modules for Incidents, Personnel Management, Scheduling, Properties and Inspections, Activities, Permits, Asset Management, Checklists and Hydrants, and more.
A good RMS tool should be customizable to your department, easy to access both in the firehouse or the field, and easy to integrate with your other existing tools and systems. Among other key factors to consider, you should also look for a vendor with in-depth industry experience and connections, and who is open about the full cost of the RMS, including maintenance and licenses. You’ll most likely be using your RMS for years to come, so it’s essential to select the right tool for your department.
What can an RMS do for me?
At the most basic – yet arguably, most important – level your RMS will give you insight into the daily operations of your department. You can easily see common types of incidents, frequency, and key metrics on response times. You can also use your RMS to gain more insight into your community, identifying areas that could benefit from CCR or increased fire suppression education or resources.
Additionally, your ability to easily access the most up-to-date property and inspection records for your community help you create more effective incident response plans. Your RMS can store inspection information like photos, occupancy data, and fire suppression system information, and even hazardous material insights to make your response safer for your crew and your community members.
Within the firehouse, an RMS is a great tool for managing personnel and operations. You can track and receive alerts on a range of variables for your team members, ensuring they are staying up-to-date on certifications and training hours, or even letting you know if they have been exposed to hazardous materials or especially traumatic incidents. Using these tools together helps keep your team healthier, in mind and body, and better prepared to respond.
Finally, one of the most practical benefits of an RMS tool is the easy access to historical data for your department, letting you review performance over time. This allows you to create and track more effective QI projects, fulfill your reporting requirements, share insight with your stakeholders and community, and even make more competitive grant applications.
Just the Beginning
These are just a few of the ways that a fire RMS can help your department, but the full list of potential benefits goes on and on and is ultimately reflective of your own needs and goals. For example, in addition to the functionality previously discussed, the newest release of the ESO Fire RMS includes:
- ESO Activities: Records critical information about community events and operational tasks to create a daily task list and station log, Community Risk Reduction (CRR) events, and Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) – all from within a single application.
- ESO Hydrants: Captures information about hydrants in a department’s jurisdiction – as well as maintenance tasks and in-service status – and automatically displays the most up-to-date hydrant information on preplans.
- ESO Permits: Collects information about permits that were requested and issued in a department’s jurisdiction; provides tools to print and email those permits to relevant parties.
- ESO Scheduling: Provides flexible employee scheduling and tracks personnel working at any unit, station, shift, or assignment; data easily integrate with ESO Fire Incidents and standard payroll systems.
- ESO Asset Management: Delivers robust workflow tools, including granular notifications, assignments, and asset tracking, to keep departments in-tune with their equipment, gear, and other vital assets.
- ESO Checklists: Provides easy-to-use digital checklists to capture the current condition of vehicles, equipment, places, and people.
- ESO Analytics: Makes collected data accessible with one-click reporting for operational, clinical, and core measures. Configurable reporting eliminates the need for database manipulation or additional programming.
Additionally, ESO Fire RMS works to address the top complaints that fire departments have with RMS tools. For example, progressive validation features easily identify errors (and stop you) as you are working. The whole system is designed to be exceptionally easy to train and use in everyday life. Additionally, an assigned project manager helps get you up and running and schedules any onsite training needed.
The possibilities of efficiencies your department could see from implementing a robust RMS are truly endless and are configurable precisely to where you are and where you want to be. Investing in the purchase for your crew will yield years of improved operations and, ultimately, a more prepared and better-trained team, and a safer community.
Read the white paper, “Fire RMS Software: Fire Department Buyer’s Guide.”