Thread: NFIRS Help...

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    Default NFIRS Help...

    I have a few basic questions,

    What program does your department use (Firehouse, Fire Programs),

    Who enters them? When?

    And what does your department do for a "on scene report"?

    Thanks you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChathamVFD9921 View Post
    What program does your department use (Firehouse, Fire Programs)
    FirePrograms, and we hate them. Would never recommend the program. We're looking to go with a web-based reporting system, such as Emergency Reporting (I was very impressed with their product at FRI). There are other web-based systems out there as well.

    Who enters them? When?
    The officer of the first responding piece is required to ensure that the report is entered within 72 hours of the end of the incident. However, they're usually done at the conclusion of the call. We have a handful of older members that aren't proficient with computers, so the younger members will assist the older members with their report entry.

    And what does your department do for a "on scene report"?
    Not sure what you mean about an on-scene report. If we need to take down information at a fire or hazmat incident, we grab a notepad and pen off the engine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    FirePrograms, and we hate them. Would never recommend the program. We're looking to go with a web-based reporting system, such as Emergency Reporting (I was very impressed with their product at FRI). There are other web-based systems out there as well.


    The officer of the first responding piece is required to ensure that the report is entered within 72 hours of the end of the incident. However, they're usually done at the conclusion of the call. We have a handful of older members that aren't proficient with computers, so the younger members will assist the older members with their report entry.


    Not sure what you mean about an on-scene report. If we need to take down information at a fire or hazmat incident, we grab a notepad and pen off the engine.
    Great reply, i appreciate it.

    We use Firehouse, and have the same feelings as you. CRAP.

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    New York State has a web-based application for completing our reports, and that's how ours go in. Once you get used to some of the recurring codes, you can breeze right through stuff like an EMS call or an MVA.

    Generally speaking, if you leave something out, it'll call you on it so you can go back and fill in the appropriate blank.

    Adding mutual aid companies is a bit cumbersome, as you have to complete the report, then go back, search for it, and add each additional department one at a time.

    I can go back several years and look at previous reports, or enter the results of an arson investigation.

    We have Fire Programs, but at this point it's only being used for some in-house administrative tasks.
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    Fire Programs.

    On-Duty Captain enters the run data. I enter who responded and Q & A the report.

    We do a paper copy on-scene however that may be changing as we are likely to have 4 used Tough Books donated to us, which may allow us to actually enter the data on-scene.
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    We have paper "run reports" for on scene -(they also get filed ) at the station the log book is hand written -taking time to hand write sometimes helps jog your memory on details - then we use firehouse to do the NIFRS
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    Good info, keep telling us what you use and like or don't like, we too are looking to change to a newer programs from the older version of Sunpro/Aether/???

    We too are looking very favorably toward Emergency Reporting and an online solution vs. the stand alone.

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    At work we use web based Firehouse. We use the program for all incident reports, training, pre plans, hydrants and event scheduling. It is not a bad system and is easy to use once you figure it out. Officer in charge is responsible for making sure the report is done before the end of that shift. All we do on scene is get basic info. Times and other information are recorded and pulled from our CAD system. Medium sized suburban department running about 3,500 calls annually.

    With the volunteer department we use Fire Programs. For a smaller department like this one, I think it is a good fit. We use it for all incident and training reports. As of right now the responding personnel do a basic on scene report with contact info, etc. and attach a call card prinout from our dispatching system. Being as I am the training officer at this department I handle all reporting into NFIRS. They turn the hand report in, we go over it together, then enter the info and narrative into the system. For medical calls, we keep paper PCRs that are filed seperate; info other than patient info and narrative are entered into NFIRS with a narrative stating "SEE MEDICAL REPORT". I try to go through and check to make sure all calls have been reported on once a week. Small suburban department running around 150 calls annually.

    What innitally turned us on to Fire Programs was the cost. Even for a single user account the cost was a good bit less than Firehouse. And, it works for us.
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    Thank you for the replies guys,

    Keep them coming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChathamVFD9921 View Post
    I have a few basic questions,

    What program does your department use (Firehouse, Fire Programs),
    We use Firehouse, but just for the NFIRS module*.

    Who enters them? When?
    Depends upon the run. Fire runs - Officer of first in company handles the report. EMS runs - Lead EMT from FRC will complete the entire report. Officers from all other companies dispatched will enter their specific members/actions. All reports are to be completed "in a timely manner." Usually by the end of the tour, or no later than the following tour.

    And what does your department do for a "on scene report"?
    Not sure exactly what you mean, so I assume you mean the NFIRS narrative? We had been using a generic prefilled/auto-generated narrative that I understand came standard with Firehouse. It is my understanding that this week they blanked out the autogenerated portion, and want the first-in officer to do a department-proprietary PFD Fire Report format, which follows a rigid form leftover from when they were preprinted and filled in by typewriter.**

    Thanks you.
    * - It is my understanding that the Firehouse software can do almost all aspects of the office paperwork, such as payroll, attendance, reports, and so on. We only use it for NFIRS; we use it as a standalone module, so for example instead of simply setting up a crew and saying "Engine 1/Platoon X" was working, and having all 12 of their runs that day populated with their roster, that info has to be entered manually each run (4 on engine, so 48 members to add to all the runs - it adds up). I was told we are (or were, when we started) the largest department to use this software, and one of the very few who use it in this piece-meal fashion. Much of our frustrations with it are explained away as "If we used the other modules, then this information would populate in there and cut your efforts in half."

    ** - I cannot fathom why my department cannot simply have our proprietary format become auto-generated and prepopulated with much of the needed information. Then again, we do roll calls and attendance by typewriter still, and I believe we are single-handedly keeping the carbon paper companies in business. So those other moules would really speed things up. We wouldn't even be using this software or even doing NFIRS except we were going to lose federal funding for something or another...
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Default Nfirs

    We use RedAlert from Alpine Software. It is a very good program that can do many different things. Our incident forms are filled out on the scene and then brought back and attached to the run sheet. Our Station Administrator then enters all the information into RedAlert to complete the NFIR.

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    We are using the web-based Firehouse software. It's actually served and maintained at the county level. This is working out a lot better then we were running our own local version. Most of the fields are populated from the CAD which makes things much easier.

    All officers/Chiefs are required to fill in the section for their unit. First-in has the 'master' and has to fill in the other fields. Report has to be completed 'within a reasonable time' which is usually defined as the end of your shift or within a few days if it was a busy night or a home response period.

    My main frustration with the software is largely OBE now and had more to do with how we were using it. At the time all officers put their narratives into one section/field and there were issues with entries getting stepped on and overwritten. Now the narratives are under each apparatus and the master narrative is a dump of the Dispatch operator's Notes.

    Not sure what is meant by 'on scene report'.. while we can acccess Firehouse from our MDT's on the trucks, the incident isn't available there until its complete and closed out of the CAD system. (This is a pain for EMS calls since it includes EMS transport, which isn't our agency)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita View Post
    We only use it for NFIRS; we use it as a standalone module, so for example instead of simply setting up a crew and saying "Engine 1/Platoon X" was working, and having all 12 of their runs that day populated with their roster, that info has to be entered manually each run (4 on engine, so 48 members to add to all the runs - it adds up).
    I don't know what modules we have/use on our county system but I know we can create groups. I don't think they're automatically assigned to apparatus or shifts, though. How would you account for guys being out or detailed somewhere else? As long as all officers are entering their own staffing it shouldn't be too hard for them to enter their 4 guys.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    I don't know what modules we have/use on our county system but I know we can create groups. I don't think they're automatically assigned to apparatus or shifts, though. How would you account for guys being out or detailed somewhere else? As long as all officers are entering their own staffing it shouldn't be too hard for them to enter their 4 guys.
    Our officers do enter their own staffing, and the first-in (or lead EMT as noted above) handles the staffing for any mediic units; we also have groups to "suggest" a unit's roster. Going tht way, it takes a minute to enter a "normal" roster. It takes at least 3 minutes for us to complete a roster if there's someone detailed in, etc. (It's a very slow DB, another whole issue; and yes I have timed it.) I'd have no problem if we just once a shift entered a roster that said "On the night shift for 11/18/11, Engine 1 is FF Andy, FF Bill, FF Chuck, and Lt Dave." And then that roster was applied to all runs that Engine 1 has for nightwork on 11/18/11.

    Instead, Engine 1 has 15 runs on that nightwork and they have to enter that roster 15 times; so 45 minutes of the shift is spent entering the same roster over and over. Then if just 5 of those runs also included a medic unit, that is another 15 minutes of roster entry. It is not uncommon for our dispatch to switch up squads or otherwise have multiple squads. It is not uncommon to have as many as 5 squads assigned for a single minor incident, and each of them has to have staff entered regardless of whether they made it on scene. So instead of 15 minutes to enter our medics we could be entering their rosters for 75 minutes; add that to the 45 minutes for the engine, and we spend a full 2 hours a shift just entering rosters. then you have the rest of the report to do...

    It takes about 20 minutes for us to complete a single EMS incident; there have been many shifts where I am literally going run-to-run to the PC for NFIRS to run-to-run and repeat. Think of all the other elements to your day (training, prevention activities, etc.) and eliminate them, and OH! you still have to find time to do them.


    ARRRGH. I got on a roll, sorry. /RANT
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    My department switched from Firehouse Software to Emergency Reporting in May. We were having so many problems with firehouse that we decided to go a different company. Personally, I love Emergency Reporting!! There are a bunch of advatages to it, for example... since Emergency Reporting is web-based, any computer with an internet connection can be used to enter reports. If you have an MVA with multiple patients, they can all be entered at the same time instead of one person doing his patient and the rest of the medics wait in line. Another nice feature is that depending on what information you enter on the first few screens, it will remove the modules that don't apply. It streamlines the entire process. I could do all of our run reviews from home if I needed too as well as check maintenance issues, hydrant information, and there is a messaging module in there for inter-department messages. Finally, the payroll module is great!!! we are a paid on call department and it takes the information from the roster and who responded and automatically puts it in payroll.

    Its not a perfect system but much better than Firehouse. The nice thing is, if you have trouble you can contact them and they will get back with you as soon as they can. Its nice to call them and actually have someone on the other end with the answers. There are even videos on how to use the entire software on the website to walk you through each module if you need it. Oh, one more thing, When I used Firehouse for my NFIRS reporting, it used to take up to an hour. Now with Emergency Reporting it is litterally a few minutes. I love this program!! This is just the tip of the iceberg... if you are looking for software, give them a call and set up a 30 day trial.

    As for who enters the reports, that falls on the caregiver or officer on the truck and it's required to have it done before clearing the station.

    For our on scene reorts, we have a worksheet made to aid us in getting the required information for our reports. Once the report is entered into the computer, the worksheet is destroyed.

    ChathamVFD9921, You are relatively close to us (I think). I'm in Elyria, if you'd like to see the Emergency Reporting software just send me an email at elyriatwpcapt@gmail.com and maybe we can set something up for you, okay?

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    I don't know what modules we have/use on our county system but I know we can create groups. I don't think they're automatically assigned to apparatus or shifts, though. How would you account for guys being out or detailed somewhere else? As long as all officers are entering their own staffing it shouldn't be too hard for them to enter their 4 guys.
    At work, we use Red Alert by Alpine Software, and it does exactly this. It knows which members are assigned to each station/shift and automatically assigns them to the station at shift change each morning. The company officer will assign them to the rigs that they're riding for the tour, delete them from the roster if they're not working that day, or assign them to the station they're detailed for the day.

    The reporting system will remember your assignments until they're either modified, or the tour ends.

    We do all of our EMS reporting on the MDT in the rig, which is generally complete before we even return to quarters. Fire reports can be done in less than 5 minutes for all but the most complicated incidents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita View Post
    So instead of 15 minutes to enter our medics we could be entering their rosters for 75 minutes; add that to the 45 minutes for the engine, and we spend a full 2 hours a shift just entering rosters. then you have the rest of the report to do...
    It sounds like you have a right to rant given the amount of time you have to spend getting the reports done. Thankfully here the county system is quick enough that it isn't too much of a hassle... Enter the line number, hit Ctrl-Y, enter next number..etc. I don't envy your situation. Spending 20% of your shift accounting for the other 100%.. uhg.
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