Free software substitutes
While trying to catch our department up with technology cost is our main hurdle to cross. I was wanting to know if anyone is using some public free apps to better their department while money is short?
What I am currently looking at and using now is:
Inkscape for digitizing and cleaning up our pre-fire plan drawings. Works well but definitely not designed for this purpose.
ArcGIS for mapping. This is a huge one and our GIS department is a major help to this. This program will allow us to manage our hydrants using mapping software. Other areas it will be used is pre-fire plans, large incident management, and general fire ground tactics. If you don't have a GIS department then you may be limited to your capabilities here.
anymeeting.com. This program is not being utilized yet and I just found it last night. I see a lot of potential for it though. My training chief approached me about getting a video camera to record capts meetings and what not and then send them out electronically to the stations to assist with manpower issues and save on fuel costs. I believe this will be a great asset allowing training to occur over the internet with the guys at their own stations when not requiring hands on techniques.
Your thoughts on these and any other ideas would be awesome.