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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2002
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    Default Fire Dept Software

    Hi! We're a small volunteer FD north of Prescott AZ.
    We're looking for software to maintain our station
    records, ie, personnel, incidents, vehicle maintenance, etc.

    We purchased Arrakis Fire PGM 2000 last year and it turned
    to be a big mistake. The pgm is awkward to use, poorly designed
    and damned expensive if you need their help.

    We bought a new PC recently and found out we can't transfer the software to it without an update. Arrakis wants $600 to "help" us
    because we didn't buy their $300 service contract last year when we bought the software.

    Does anyone out there have experience with any other fire house software that we could take a look at?

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Terry


  2. #2
    Forum Member Tiger Schmittendorf's Avatar
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    Mar 1999
    Location
    Erie County NY
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    34

    Default

    Does anyone out there have experience with any other fire house software that we could take a look at?

    You answered your own question: Firehouse Software. It's hands down the best bang for your buck. My department has used it for about 6 years and its grown with our operations with no problem.

    Their web site is www.firehousesoftware.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2002
    Location
    East Berlin, CT
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    24

    Default

    We use Firehouse software also, but I found the key to any computer program in a fire department is training. Many members of departments are computer phobic and without training they will never adopt any computer program as their own.

    That being said, Firehouse 5.0 is a very nice program. I have set ours up so that all you have to do is fill in the yellow blocks, and a monkey could do that.

    Yours in Service,

    Jason
    Jason Zigmont

  4. #4
    Member
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    May 2001
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    45

    Question sofware

    Has anyone out there tried Pro-Tech fireware?
    WWW.PTMSFIRE.COM
    END-OF-YEAR SOFTWARE SPECIAL (GOOD UNTIL 12/31/02)

    ALL SIX SOFTWARE PACKAGES FOR ONLY $225.00
    OR
    FIREMATIC MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR $75.00
    ASSET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR $35.00
    ASSET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE WITH MAINTENANCE FOR $50.00
    SCBA MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR $50.00
    HOSE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR $50.00
    PUMP MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR $50.00
    HYDRANT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR $50.00

    Looks simple for a novice user. Then again we are useing NFIRS V5.1
    which isn't simple.
    All we need is equipment stuff

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Fl. USA
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    Default

    Just to let you know, most of all teh software out there is expensive and most are difficult to use, update, change, and service. We ahve gone through four progams over the past sic years and they all stunk. One guy who was working for us and left to work for Palm Beach County Fire Prevention made a program for what you are looking for in Microsoft Access I believe. His name is Mark Davis.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2001
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    17

    Thumbs up

    I was looking at the replies before mine and I thought I would offer my help.

    I am a FF/Inspector for a medium size fire dept in NJ, For the past 6 years both the Fire Co and Fire Prevention are using software from a company called Emergency Software Products. We have found that this company is the only one who can do customization to what our needs are.
    The company is owned and operated by members in the Fire Service and are very understanding of what works and doesnt work. I find their system very easy to use and like the rest of you, I have guys who dont even know what a mouse is, but yet they can enter reports and all.

    On their website you can request a live demo and see for yourself,
    http://www.emergencysoftware.com

    Any questions feel free to contact me at flashover84@aol.com, please when emailing me put "software question" in the subject line, this is so I dont think its part of the 10,000 junk emails I receive.

    Stay Safe
    Pete

  7. #7
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    Oct 2002
    Location
    Farmington HIlls, MI
    Posts
    1

    Cool

    Check out a software called firetools. Company is in michigan and for a small fee alot of departments use it up here..

    jerry

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2003
    Location
    Little Creek DE
    Posts
    9

    Default Fire Programs

    We have used fire programs, used it for about 4 years now. I have not had any problems with inputting data updating to the latest verison, and uploading the information to the state. I run the NFIRS 5 verison.

  9. #9
    Senior Member raven911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Southern New Mexico
    Posts
    320

    Default

    We are making the switch from FirePrograms to Firehouse. It just wasn't working out. I have used Firehouse in another fire department once before. I liked it very much. I will be very happy when we do switch.
    IACOJ Military Division
    NM Office
    ------------------------------------
    "There are three kinds of men: The ones who learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Feb 2001
    Location
    Mukwonago, WI
    Posts
    4

    Default Software

    I created various modules for our fire department - fire, EMS, Inspections, Personnel, Equipment, Training. There are good and bad to this. Good, you can decide what you want and taylor it to how you run your department. You can choose how you want your reports to print and what you want in them. Bad, it takes time to develop. Our department developed its own EMS Run Report (separate from the State form). It works great for us. From this, a computer system was developed and looks similar to the paper report. All of this was done in MS Access. I can do Visual Basic.

    If you are interested, I will develop a program for your department. With 7 years Fire/EMS experience and 10+ years programming with MS Access & Visual Basic, I would be more than happy to help out. Can contact me at sawdoff@firehousezone.com.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2003
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    1

    Thumbs up Software

    As the Lt. in charge of record keeping in my FD, I have done some research into the subject. I have seen and/or used just about all of the software that is available to us in the fire service. All have strong points and weak points.

    I feel that the one thing you should look for when making a decision is whether the software can be customized to meet your needs. For this reason, my department went with Emergency Software Products in Cinnaminson, NJ (www.emergencysoftware.com) They have a modular and easy to use software package that they will customize to meet your needs.

    Good luck and stay safe

  12. #12
    Forum Member
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    Mar 1999
    Location
    Granbury (TX) VFD
    Posts
    194

    Default

    Everyone offers free demos. Try them all and see which one works best for you. When we bought ours, narrowed it down to a couple, and then set up 4-hour blocks for vendor presentations. Then we re-evaluated for another few weeks.

    And get a list of references and call a bunch of them.

    We bought FireHouse--the rocks can use FireHouse.

    Whichever one you get though, buy the support contract.
    www.gvfd.org

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Oct 2002
    Location
    Texas
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    32

    Default Been There, Done That...burned the shirt

    I've entered records for over 8 years. I have been through 3 major software changes, at about 60-80 of manhours for each records conversion. I am sold on FireHouse software.

    Our current conversion was from Firefile (now defunct)to FireHouse. I sent 1 firefighter to the system administrator class. GREAT investment. This conversion has been relatively painless. It can be pricy for a small department. The annual service contracts are also a budget issue that must be addressed. You can contact them for pricing.

    You might contact your State Fire Marshal's office or the agency that requests your NFIRS, they will usually provide some assistance in the funding for reporting software. This can be either direct money or referal to state funds or grants. If you do purchase any software that requires maint. contracts, then bump your budget to make this happen.

    Jeff

  14. #14
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    Feb 2003
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    1

    Default Incident reporting software

    Hi, Terry.

    I'm not sure if I'm breaking forum rules or not, but you might want to check out NFIRSonline.

    It is a web based software that is licensed per department not user so anyone can in your FD can use it. It is very inexpensive and easy to use.

    Jim

  15. #15
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2003
    Location
    South Meriden, CT
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    3

    Lightbulb Developing software for FD/EMS

    Ok, I'm fed up with exhorbitant prices pushed on volunteer departments that don't have the budget in the first place. The money they do have should be spent on training.

    Starting this year (2003), I'm writing Open Source http://opensource.org/ software that any department can have free. This is a measurable undertaking and anybody who understands the Open Source movement will realize it's an effort by the community.

    I'm seeking assistance in any form that it may come in. Knowledge, code, protocol documentation, even financial or equipment donations.

    Ultimately the results of all this work goes directly back to the departments.

    Regardless if you do or don't donate, you get the software.

    Honestly, I expect very little support, most people would like to help but don't know how to. Granted, most firefighters, particularly in volunteer fire departments, have little knowledge about software and little leeway to donate in other ways.

    But every little bit helps. Even comments, critiques, and helpful examples.

    It's hard to write software for the industry when until just recently, most software has been very pricey and locked away under NDA and Licensing fees.

    I'm exhorting the fellowship of firefighters to help write software that will help us all.

    Please visit http://southmeriden-vfd.org/software.php and http://southmeriden-vfd.org/projects.php

    Even if all you can do is make comments to help, that in itself is what I need. Contact links are on the web pages.

    Please and thank you,
    David

  16. #16
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    Algonquin
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    Exclamation something to think about

    The FD I'm on has used Firehouse 3.0 and 5.0 with good success. All 60 of us have become used to using it, however, it is important to remember that a certain amount of training is necessary for everyone to be able to use it effectively, which is true with any piece of software that you have for a computer.

    In addition to being a FF, I'm also the owner of a computer business (we build new PCs and also do network install and maintenance...) The ONE area that most departments/FF's fail to research adequately before purchasing software is the hardware that they have available to run what they want to buy or use. It is very important to know what the recommended requirements are for the software package that you are acquiring. Never go by the minimum requirements - the software will run slow and will be more agrivating than helpful. For instance, if the recommended requirements are a PII-500MHZ, 256MB RAM, CD-ROM, 200MB Available HD space, VGA Monitor, etc. and your computer is a Pentium - 266MHZ, 64MB RAM, etc. then don't use that software, or upgrade your computer. Although your local computer store probably won't have a firefighter working there, they can still advise you with regards to the requirements of the software and recommend needed upgrades to your hardware. If you have any further questions, you can visit my homepage, http://csinfosolutions.com and email me. Good luck in your decision making process.

  17. #17
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bondurant , Iowa 50035
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    12

    Default Re: software

    Invest in Firehouse . It is a bit pricy but i have used it for the last couple of years and love it.




    Chris

  18. #18
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield County, VA
    Posts
    6

    Talking

    I have recently started my own business (Fire Data Management) dealing with this particular subject. I come from a small town fire department in rural Maine where computer technology is what you could call distant. I have created databases for my department for equpiment tracking, weekly/monthly service checks, etc.... I am not in the incident reporting section because there are many other software packages out there designed for that. (And I dont have the money or time to compete). Customization and ease of use is key when dealing with firefighters and computers.

    I have affordable rates and am familiar with fire department situations. If this interests you and you are still in need of this type of software pleas feel free to contact me.

    fdmcs@msn.com

    Sincerely
    John Gannon

  19. #19
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    Apr 2003
    Location
    Fairfield, NJ
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    17

    Thumbs up Software makes the difference

    For the past 23 years I have been in the fire service, for the past 13 dealing with the issue of record management. I have been thru 5 software packages over the years. Most have gone out of business, but our current vendor we have been using for the past 9 years has provin to be the best software, they have been in the fire software business since 1980 and have provided for us the best software out there today.

    The have customized our inspection system, pre-plans, digital attachment, network our outer fire stations, Customized our NFIRS 5.0, Personnel and Training, Inventory and Maintenance, and accountablity system. They have a pen inspection system setup, all we do is load the property information on to the pen computer and we take the entire property information including inspection history with us in the field. We use a pen and hand write on the computer, pull down menu's for quick list of most common violations, we even carry portable printers to print the violation and had it to the occupant. Our State Fire Code is also loaded onto the computer.

    Our Fire Chief carrys all the pre-plan information on a lap top computer and our dispatch can also print directly to the fire station.

    I think I have said alot, you can only get from any system what you put into it (INFORMATION). The company we use is called EMERGENCY SOFTWARE PRODUCTS, INC. based in New Jersey. There web site is www.emergencysoftware.com

    Note: The State of New York Office of Fire Prevention and Control is using there software for Fire Inspection for the State of New York.

    Thank you


    Bill

  20. #20
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    Apr 2003
    Posts
    1

    Exclamation RMS Commander Software

    There is a new Software Company located in Tucson Arizona that we have been working with. They have a WEB-Browser based NFIRS & EMS Records mgmt solution that encompasses everything required, plus hydrant, fire inspection, personnel, training (online tests can be taken and graded), calander, vehicle maintenance, you name it. Long Beach Fire has licensed the Application. I guess becaause they are new, they are pricing the solution really cheap! Web is the way to go guys, take it from a systems guy. I would much rather update from my desk then go out to each station.

    The Company is called RMS Commander
    www.rmscommander.com

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