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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone use Firehouse NFIRS Software?

    I don't believe its from Firehouse.com but I could be mistaken, the url is http://www.firehousesoftware.com.

    I am looking for people who have used this software and what you think of it, the good the bad and the ugly.

    Please no sales reps trying to pitch it, I want info from FF's, Officers etc., who have to use this software on a daily basis.

    We are looking to add more modules, equipment maintenance to our system, but our current software does not have them so I was looking at this as a possible replacement and was looking for your thoughts on it.

    Thanks in advance.
    Andy
    EMT-B
    Garfield Twp. Fire Department
    http://www.garfieldfire.com


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    We've been using it for 3 or 4 years. Only for incident reporting and NFIRS. We file as a department but have 2 stations entering runs. I'd like it to be a little more "station" friendly in that I take too many keystrokes/clicks to be changing the station numbers all the time during entry. Haven't had any problems/errors worth mentioning. We are also looking to add training module in the near future.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    The county I run is is using it as a total data collection package.
    I have NO experience entering Fire Reports as that is done by the Chief from our "in house" paper reports.
    I have used some of the other modules such as equipment & training logging and it's o.k. I'd have to use it more to form a better opinion.
    We also do all of our EMS reports in it. Some of the screens and the way the data collection is set up doesn't have a very good "flow" but I think part of that lies in the way we have to collect data to submit to the state EMS office.

    FWIW - I am a computer programmer by trade and there were some small things that irked me about V5 - some if those were fixed in V6 (current version) and some were not. I actually talked to the FH guys at the Expo last year and showed them some of the problems I had found but it was too late to incorporate into V6 so we'll see if they get fixed in V7 or not.

    I haven't really used a lot of other packages, but as a programmer I will say that this is a overall a fairly well written program and it is also a fairly complex program (because of all the interlinked modules & data) - so if you can stand a few quirks here & there, don't mind the learning curve, and have good technical support form their field reps - you should be fine.


    Bones - they won't let me be an Admin on the FH system so I never really bothered to read/study the config manuals a whole lot, but you should be able to set default station data for each system so you're not having to change it all the time (if I understood your complaint correctly).
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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  4. #4
    Forum Member nomex0067's Avatar
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    We use it for fire and EMS reports. It works really great havent had any error yet. You can make the program do what ever you need it to do or not. You can make your reports very detailed or not. I am not very familiar with the fire part I have only done a few but its pretty user friendly, as for the EMS report it all depends on how detailed you want your report to be. It takes me up to 30 minutes to do my EMS report, but I am just really picky on how I do mine. Over all its a good program.
    Joe FF/Paramedic

  5. #5
    Disillusioned Subscriber Steamer's Avatar
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    If you check with Weruj and some of the other guys from Ohio, they might give you some insight as well. The Fire Marshal's Office here gave a basic copy to any Ohio FD that wanted it for no cost. They were only responsible for a fee to the company for support, if I remember correctly. We don't use it because we already had a program in place when it was offered.
    Steve Gallagher
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    We have had it here for about 5 years now.

    I do most of the data entry. We use it for everything, from NFIRS to hose testing and hydrant records to payroll. I wish I knew more about how FoxPro (the database it's based on) works, because if you want to run a query that is different from the pre-packaged ones, it can be very confusing. Otherwise, I consider it to be an extremely useful and power tool. i would recommend it highly to anybody who is interested.

    Also, the Illinois Fire Marshall also arranged for IL department to get the NFIRS-only version for free.

    Finally, Bones, I believe N2D is right; you can set each workstation to default to a particular station. I'm not sure how to do it though, as we have only one and I've never played with it. If you have a maintenance agreement with Firehouse, you can call tech support for free and they'll walk you through it.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Did a little checking after reading replies here...found that we have multiple stations but only 1 user license. That pretty much sums up why I have to change everthing all the time.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    I'll preface my opinion by saying that we have fairly constant network and computer issues that aren't Firehouse related, so some of the problems we have with the software may not be the fault of the program.

    We run three stations, and it works out pretty well for entering data on to the reports. The three stations are networked, and once a report is initially entered, the other two stations can add to the report what is necessary, i.e. personnel and units responding, perhaps a short narrative if they did something in particular that the IC wasn't aware of enough to document.

    There have been problems with one station locking a report somehow so no one else is able to enter data into it, but I think this still is likely an issue with how our computer mutt has things set up. Apparently good IT guys are hard to come by in this area, and none of us will dare touch anything (we're so limited in our access anyway, we couldn't make changes) for fear of limb removal as retribution. Our department takes our computer use policy to new levels bordering on ridiculous.

    One of the salesmen for Firehouse started out as a firefighter with us before going to a career department many years ago, and I think if we have concerns he gets a phone call. Too bad he isn't our territory's sales rep.

    A proficient guy with the program can enter the info for a simple medical run in 5 minutes. This includes the assorted benchmark times, personnel and units responding, entering the address and census info, and a narrative. We are non-transport, so our paperwork load is a little lighter than if we had a bus hauling folks to the E.R.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    We've been using FH for about five years now. I don't have anything to compare it to, but I think it's reasonably well put together. We use ours for incidents (EMS and NFIRS), payroll, inventory, hydrants, and some maintenance. I do agree that the queries are a bit cumbersome.

    We also run multiple stations off of one license. Real-time data transfer is painfully slow, but it's probably still quicker than paper forms and later data entry.
    ullrichk
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  10. #10
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    We just got our copy of Firehouse and everyone likes it. The only problem that we have encountered is the people putting in the reports. This is due to the consistancy of that person. Some people get very detailed and some just put the basics. But as a whole it works great for us. We use it for hose testing, inventory, run info, and we are starting hydrants and converting our preplans over to firehouse. Like stated before you can be on the computer for 5 minutes or 25 minutes it just depends on who is doing it and how much of the report they are completing.

    I just got done putting in 244 reports (up to june 1st) and I can get a detailed report in, execpt for the narrative, in about 7 minutes. But this is also because I "work well" with computers.

    Corey

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    We have the Firehouse5 version and have used it for about 3 years now. Works good for information on spread sheets or record keeping. We still do the fire and ems reports on paper and have our secretary put it into the computer.

    It would be nice if we could electronically do the reports but I guess that isn't in the budget.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  12. #12
    Forum Member Station2Capt's Avatar
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    We also have had FH for about 5 years or better now. I really like it alot. If you have it set up right you can do so much with it. Keep track of training, equipment use, hydrants, inspections, and much more. As far as people saying there reports show inconsistances the adminastrator should be able to set the program up where everything the department feels it needs is a required field and the report will not show complete until all reqired fields are filled out. It takes time like any program to get good at it but when you learn it well, it is a very good program to use. I highly recomend it. Just to let you know how often I use it on an adverage day I or one of my crew members will enter 12-15 reports from my station.
    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

  13. #13
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    Can you alter or add fields? For example: Lets say we get a new piece of equipment on our equipment truck that we want to add to our checklist. Can you add that field so that it can be counted as well? Or is it pretty static and you need to contact Firehouse for changes?

    Thanks for all the great info, I will be passing this along to our Chief to let him know.

    Andy
    EMT-B
    Garfield Twp. Fire Department
    http://www.garfieldfire.com

  14. #14
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    We've been using Firehouse Software officially since October 2004. If you want it to be, it can be the only piece of software you need for records management. It will record anything and everything you want it to. However, I think that power is also its weakness.

    Because the software can record so much information, it's overwhelming to some of our members. As a result, they enter as little information as they have to. Fortunately, the system administrator can mark what information is required and a report can't be saved without entering that information.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by FireAndy
    Can you alter or add fields? For example: Lets say we get a new piece of equipment on our equipment truck that we want to add to our checklist. Can you add that field so that it can be counted as well? Andy
    Andy, you're question should be "Can you alter or add data?" And the answer is yes. Each time you buy something or sell something or need to change the profile of something in the system, you are altering data. Adding a new gated wye to your truck inventory is no different or more complicated than adding a new probie to your staff roster.

    We've used FH for over 5 years now. It's a good solid program. Could use some more user friendly features but it's a good solid data capture and reporting tool.
    Remember, it IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you!

  16. #16
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    We've use Firehouse, for basic NFIRS reporting only, for a few years. It's a great program and we had no major problems with it. BUT, when we wanted more than the basic package, the cost was out of reason so we switched to FirePrograms. We get everything we need with that program for about the cost of adding one module in Firehouse. I've called tech support a couple times and the problems I had were created by me and not the program. If you've got the money, FH is great, if you're on a tight budget, FP will get the job done as well.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

  17. #17
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    We've been using it for a few years now. We recently got the database connected to the CAD at dispatch so when we go to enter the report, the incident is already there with all the times. It's quite nice.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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