Community Communications In 2013 we experienced a significant flash flood that destroyed our primary highway and gave our community challenges for months. As we started working a continuous day and night incident we quickly created our community communications infrastructure for communicating with the public: Coal Creek Canyon Flood… We started with a website and a mailing list (so our community could connect to us directly) and then we supplemented with social media.
Weathering storms… Navigating inclement weather (winter storms and more) with preparation and communication. Chaining up the trucks… Northern Colorado just experienced a large snow storm; a difficult to predict upslope that could’ve dumped a lot of snow in a short amount of time. We experienced three feet or so which gave us some difficulties, but thankfully not more. (It may seem a little odd to write about preparations in the past, but it is hard to do such a thing while focusing on a storm, and maybe it’ll help other department’s evaluation of their tools and solutions for preparations; perhaps as a form of fire community AAR.
USFA/IAFC NFIRS Week - 2/22 to 2/26 USFA’s National Fire Programs’ National Fire Data Center in coordination with the International Association of Fire Chiefs will be hosting the first annual NFIRS Week from February 22nd to the 26th, 2021. Webinars will be held daily from 1:00-2:00 EST throughout the week with the following topics: Monday 2/22/2021: How States Help to Gather and Use Data Tuesday 2/23/2021: The Electronic Data Warehouse and Analytics Wednesday 2/24/2021: NFIRS Data and the COVID Special Study Thursday 2/25/2021: Superhero Day: The NFIRS Help Desk Friday 2/26/2021: Chiefs Roundtable All State Program Managers and staff are invited to attend this informative week, but so are agencies.
Overview:  Membership communications; balance the signal to noise ratio When not on scene using radios, fire depements and fire department members need to communicate in sub-groups, and as a whole. Fire station notice boards are no longer the solution. Notice board - by AbsolutVision Group Email Lists Many volunteer fire departments use Google Groups (or other email list services) to allow their leadership or membership to share with the group.
Responserack NFIRS Quick reference NFIRS time of year… Since it is that ‘NFIRS time of year’ - where we need to complete 2020 NFIRS I’ve been working on some quick reference information for volunteer fire departments. I’m not trying to recreate those quick references that show everything, but some of the more common incident types used by volunteer fire departments. Quick Reference NFIRS Incident Type Cheat Sheet Coding NFIRS Incidents Commonly used Actions Taken Commonly used Property Uses Full Reference If you are looking for the full references, check here:
Do it yourself … “What Resources?” Not exactly something we built ourselves, but thanks to our local Emergency Operations Center (in combination with our local Dispatch / Communications Center who use it for community-level emergency notifications) we have access to what I’d term “team-level” Everbridge mass notifications system. Using Everbridge we can send a message to all our team members; phone (land line, mobile, work), email, TXT either in priority order (with time delays in between) or all at once … all devices / mechanims - almost instantaneously.
Drones (UAV/UAS) helping on lighting strike fires We are a mountain volunteer department with access to a mutual aid partner Boulder Emergency Squad; a volunteer technical services emergency response team. BES run a UAS program - Unmanned Aeriel Systems, colloqually knowns as drones. BES UAS are systems because they carry technology; high definition cameras, heat sensetive cameras and radio technolgy to transmit those images (in real-time) back to ICP. This summer a powerful lightning storm started a set of fires in remote areas of our district.
Do it yourself … “CAD dispatch to membership” Modern Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems provide an email interface (often known as SMTP interface, with that M being for eMail.) Typically a department may request that their communications center (dispatch) assign an email addressfor them, and that email address receives notifications upon dispatch. The simplest step to take is to wire this email address to a Google Group of members who want dispatch notifications to their device.
Do it yourself … “Who is responding?” We are a mountain volunteer department where we respond to incidents from home. We don’t do shifts. With limited cellular service in most areas I was long against tools that showed I am responding thinking “wait 5 minutes and all who are coming will be on radio at station … no need to take time for some system.” That is still true, but I’ve changed my thinking somewhat, in the main because we now have a full-time Chief who is at station.
With eNFIRS (The replacement for NFIRS Web Tools) you can request a temporary password if you forgot your password. (Prior to this you would have to contact your NFIRS State Point of Contact …. Step #1 If you’ve forgotten your password or username Based upon which credential your misplaved, visit the appropriate link: Forgot Password Forgot Username … you can find both links on the eNFIRS login page.