1. #1
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    Default Laptops and software in Trucks

    What types of laptops and software do you have in your trucks.

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    My dept is in the process of putting laptops in all of our frontline trucks. I believe they have tested several laptops and tablet PCs. As far as software, Cameo, and all preplans, integrated with gps. We can communicate between trucks and dispatch sends us info over them that way we dont have to ask for numericals over the radio.

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    BEWARE!!

    Our county was fooled by a company called "HTE" The had a smooth talking sales person that promised this software can do all kinds of things.

    Our county, with all the police and fire agencies went together to purchase this software. The county-wide communications center, the sheriff's dept, jail, fire depts, and city police dept. all went in on it.

    One component doesn't talk to the other, it is slow and not so user friendly. Are we better now that what we had, yes. But not much better.

    Whatever you do, make sure you have the fastest modem in your vehicles you can purchase and that you have enough towers for coverage for the radio modem, and a strong server. If you cut corners it will show in the long run. For the amount of money you will spend, make sure it is done right the first time for several years to come.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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    We use the Panasonic Toughbook CF 28. Programs are our CAD, and have map programs and Cameo, Aloha, and Marplot.

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    I would strongly reccomend the panasonic toughbooks- i use those everyday at work and they can take a serious beating and still work great. I will say there are more costly(current price as we just bought a couple more is about $4700) a piece but they last.
    Brookside Engine Company, (NJ)-Captain
    Morristown(NJ) Fire Department-FF
    Mendham Township First Aid(NJ)-EMT- Officer

    These views are my own and do not reflect those of these departments

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    Thumbs down not a good idea

    i don't think that laptops should be allowed in trucks because while it is new all firefighters and higher authorites will want to see how it works and will not be fighting the fire or helping out others. if you get it with a grant or fundraiser how will you fix it when it breaks?

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    High Point just recently had some computers put in their rigs. I haven't seen them, but I hear they have a screen in front of the Officer (which is touch screen) and also have a laptop in the truck. I'll try and find out more info.

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    We also have the Panasonic toughbook in my engine. Touch screen is nice they have made the Icons big enough so you can touch even with your gloved hand and not hit a wrong status icon. They are extremely tough. You will need something like this due to the amount of vibration while driving, your normal laptop will not stand up to the vibrations of driving very long.
    A "Good" fire is not measured by how big it is, but by the fact that everyone is going home safe, and that we possibly learned something new about firefighting. Member:IACOJ

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    Default Re: not a good idea

    Originally posted by colemanracing75
    i don't think that laptops should be allowed in trucks because while it is new all firefighters and higher authorites will want to see how it works and will not be fighting the fire or helping out others. if you get it with a grant or fundraiser how will you fix it when it breaks?
    What are you trying to say? There is no way that we can depend on books and other reference materials to "try" and cross reference data without the aid of computers in the apparatus. Prior to installing laptops in the units we have no less than five (5) books to aid in our information gathering process. With limited space in the cabs of the apparatus it only makes sense to utilize a modern piece of equipment. Our departments response time have dropped since we no longer have to depend on dispatch to enter the times. This is just several of the reason we need to remain proactive in the fire service.

    Please do not let technology scare you away. Our personnel were well trained and it did not create the "problem" as you described. Our department did not use the grant process for the purchase of the laptops. Our city is well aware of the costs that may have to be incurred in the repairs and willing to do so.

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    Default Re: not a good idea

    Originally posted by colemanracing75
    i don't think that laptops should be allowed in trucks because while it is new all firefighters and higher authorites will want to see how it works and will not be fighting the fire or helping out others. if you get it with a grant or fundraiser how will you fix it when it breaks?
    Under the same reasoning...
    -- no gas detectors (except chickens) because we don't have personnel trained to fix those. You won't get the chicken joke unless you saw it mentioned in another topic here on the FH forums.
    -- no SCBAs; even though we might have folks trained as techs, it's doubtful that they'd be able to fix stuff while we're operating on the fireground
    -- no radios 'cause we can't fix those either

    Please think about what you're saying here. While I do think that we shouldn't buy and use equipment that we can't perform basic functions with unless we have a manual available (and who'd read that?), it is downright foolish to say we shouldn't use a tool that's available and that might help us be more effective in our responses.

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    Default Re: not a good idea

    Originally posted by colemanracing75
    i don't think that laptops should be allowed in trucks because while it is new all firefighters and higher authorites will want to see how it works and will not be fighting the fire or helping out others. if you get it with a grant or fundraiser how will you fix it when it breaks?
    If you have to worry about the firefighters playing with a computer rather than getting out of the apparatus to fight a fire, then you have more serious problems that you need to take care of.

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    Default Re: not a good idea

    Originally posted by colemanracing75
    i don't think that laptops should be allowed in trucks because while it is new all firefighters and higher authorites will want to see how it works and will not be fighting the fire or helping out others. if you get it with a grant or fundraiser how will you fix it when it breaks?
    Your first post on the forums... and this is all you have to say?

    Are you suggesting that firefighters would rather stay in the cab and play with the computer than to get out on scene and handle the incident? Also, how do we fix anything that breaks? Laptops are just like any other electronic tools we use... SCBA/PASS, radios, gas detectors, TICs, etc.

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    My VFD has a handful of different brand and grade of laptops mounted in our apparatus; some are hooked to GPS, some not. The one in our rescue vehicle has our copy of the Holmatro Rescuer's Guide installed and available on a quick-launch key.

    The city department I work for has CF28s in a number of apparatus as a test study, though all the ambulances for the city have had them for years now. They are used pretty much exclusively to run our CAD software (Intergraph I/Mobile) and AVL. Rumor has it that the city's new spec for laptop hardware is HP, so the final installation may move from Panasonic CF28s to whatever the HP ruggedized mobile is (if there is such a thing).
    --jay.

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