1. #1
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    Default What do you like on a department website?

    If you could design a department website:

    What all would you put on it?

    What do you like in others sites?

    What would you cut, and what would you keep on it if it came to a budget?

  2. #2
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    Department history.

    Station pictures and descriptions.

    Apparatus pictures and descriptions.

    Roster.
    FTM - PTB

  3. #3
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    Before I started my LA fire site, I asked those exact questions. I got a lot of feedback from members from fire departments and now we have a good web site. There is always room for improvement though. Here it is:

    www.lafirephotos.com

  4. #4
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    This is a web site from a local firefighters union in my area. www.local4235.org Very nice with pics of the equipment and some scene calls.

  5. #5
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    Talking New Zealand Fire Service

    This is a very good website. I have used it more than once for research. Information is easy to find. It has information for both the geenral public and for the fire service. The home page is well organized and it is easy to find the information you are looking for. The menus on the left side are great. The information is current and the research link provides good information. It is very easy to navigate this site. That is perhaps the most important part after providing current and relevant information.


    http://www.fire.org.nz/


    cheffie

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    The people doing the job. Personalize it. On scene material, updates, anniversaries of the passing of Brothers, retirements, and the tons of humor we have. This is satisfying to maybe only the people from your particular job.There are a million sites that glorify the apparatus we all use out there. We get lots of visitors come through our house like the ones near the White House. Every now and then someone comes in and doesn't want a picture of our stuff and only glances at it briefly. I pick up on that and then pick their brain.
    Last edited by R1SAlum; 11-22-2005 at 09:34 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
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    check us out ......... www.rossfordfire.com
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  8. #8
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    I would suggest you put some public education stuff on there too.

  9. #9
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    Default What do you like on a department website?

    Quote Originally Posted by PITT8TRUCK
    If you could design a department website:

    What all would you put on it?

    What do you like in others sites?

    What would you cut, and what would you keep on it if it came to a budget?
    In looking at some of the replies to your initial thread, check out what I'm doing for http://PioneerHose.com in Brackenridge, PA. I belong to a different VFD company in Tarentum, but I'm doing this to help out Pioneer, who is the next community up the Allegheny River.

    I'm not finished yet, because I'm waiting for information like membership roster, officers, history, a time to take digital photos of their apparatus, etc; but I think what I'm providing here, including general info about Brackenridge, PA, is what might make for a comprehensive/functional website for a local FD.

    If I can help you, write me privately.

    Will Griffin
    http://VFD-Funding.com

  10. #10
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    Department history and LOTS of pictures.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  11. #11
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    Here's a few features I like in a FD site.

    -pictures of stations/apparattus, scene shots
    -overall department info : # of firefighters, call volume, district size, special skills etc
    - live dispatch
    - a guestbook to view and sign

    here's my fav site www.sanantonioFIRE.org

  12. #12
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    depends on what you want to put on it, as well as how much work you want to put into it. most "big cities" have a website with a blurb from the chief, history, apparatus and station info and pics. it gets updated once in a while.

    my department's website http://www.station25.com has a section for most of the major calls we go on (updated at least every 3 days, sometimes more often), a nav bar, roster, profiles for almost all our memberes, apparatus pics, descriptions of our various companies and their responsibilities (engine, ladder, rescue), and anything else i can think of. but I think one thing you should make sure you have is a lot of action shots and big call descriptions.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  13. #13
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    - fast loading of the home page, nothing loses someone's interest like waiting for gadgets/gizmos/special effects to load
    - designed for who you want to see it, if your looking for FF's to view it most often, lots of call info and details. If your looking for John Q Public to view it, less "technical" details that won't mean much to them.
    - current information



    Me, our site's up and running, I'd like someone with more time and creativity to keep it updated.
    "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?

  14. #14
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    How about some things NOT to put on a web-site.

    I've seen it all too often where the "good old boys" photos of the gang drinking are posted. When contacted the fire company didn't think there was anything wrong with showing folks the "brotherhood that goes on in a fire house."

    Also saw it once where a fire company showed photos of their inspection visit to a truck manufacturer. It was okay when they showed pictures of the factory tour and the truck in various stages of build. Then they added a shot of the committee at Hooters enjoying themselves with several pitchers of beer on the table and the Hooter girls leaning over (or is that cleaving over?) the table. Their web-master didn't think anything was wrong with showing that they had some fun on the trip. Once I reminded them that their township was buying the truck their trip and their beer with taxpayers' funds the photo was removed.

    Then there's the web-site that blasted FEMA for not giving them a grant for a new truck while other companies in the area got grants. They continued their ranting with the phrase "the rich get richer and the poor get stepped on."

    Just remember that whatever you put on your website will be seen by people who aren't in the business and don't understand who we are, what we do or why we do it. Just because we think something may be alright to put on the site you have to think about how some people might take it.

    Also remember that too the public, "Perception is Realtity".
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".
    http://www.bufd7.org

  15. #15
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    I actually built a website for the Combination department I used to be with. I used the Yahoo free website service Geocities and was very happy with the results. Since I'm no longer with the department the site is no longer available.
    Personally I have always liked photos of people and equiptment. While this may be a problem for dial up and other slow speed internet users I think there are many benefits. You know the old saying of a picture being worth a thousand words.
    The website I designed had several pages.

    Opening page- had the department logo and a photo of the Chief and paid FFs posed in front of one of the trucks. Below was a couple of paragraphs with a brief history of the department and it's current operations and contact info (address and business phone number).

    Paid FFs- page had photos of each paid guy captioned with his name, title (FF/EMT, FF/FR, etc.), radio unit numbers and additional certifications.

    Volunteer FF- same as the Paid FF page. Photos of all personel were obtained simply by bringing my digital camera to monthly member meetings and posing the FF next to a truck or wall.

    Trucks- doesn't every FD webpage need a apparatus page? Of course. I took a profile photo of every truck in our fleet and captioned each photo with Unit number, Make, model, water capacity and other info. Also, I noted which of our 3 stations that truck was assigned to. I scanned photos I found in the department scrapbook and included them on a page titled Trucks from our past. Very interesting to see what the FD was using when it first formed.

    A page combining Stations and Maps.
    Stations- we have 1 main station which is manned by at least one paid FF and has the offices and training/meeting area. There are 2 other unmanned stations which are no more than garages for trucks. I put photos of each station and captioned them with basic info such as station number (station 1, Station 2, station 3), Trucks assigned to that station and address of each.
    and
    Maps of Coverage areas- I found maps of our Parish (county) on our local EOP/EOM/911 website showing the coverage areas of all 10 fire departments. I also found a map specific to our depatment's district. I copied these jpeg images and put them on a page to show others our areas and those of neighboring departments with station locations marked.

    Monthly and yearly run totals- this page didn't have any photos but included a month by month breakdown of the calls we ran. Since I was the department secretary for a couple of years I simply updated this page using the info put out at monthly members meetings. Calls were listed as Fires, Wrecks, EMS and Other. Reading this page told you what we did every month and every year.

    This FD website was an "unofficial" website owned and operated entirely by me. I made that clear on the opening page in the title. I also included it in small print at the bottom of that page. The City had it's own website with a page for the FD along with other agencies such as public works, police and recreation departments. There wasn't much info on the City site. Just a couple of paragraphs about the department. That City page was maintained by the Mayors secretary who liked my "unofficial" page enough to put a link to it on the City run page. I already had a link on my main page to the "Official" City page. Together they were a good way to show off who we were and what we did.
    There's plenty to include on a webpage and the availablity of web building software and webhosting sites makes it easy to put your FD on the web.

    Take care, have fun and good luck,

    Steve
    Formerly of the East Iberville VFD and City of St Gabriel FD.
    my website is at- http://www.geocities.com/cellblock776

  16. #16
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    Default Keep it simple but thorough

    As a web designer from a few years ago (things are a little different today)there were some simple ideas to consider. Who is your target audience. For our site we wanted to reach residents, visitors, businesses, and contractors. If the web site will be an official department site keep it professional looking, avoid hoopy sounds and graphics. Keep it simple and thorough. Reading some of the other replies there are many good suggestions. Some I like include department information, personnel (put a face with the name - humanize the staff) apparatus, projects, fire prevention, kids corner, public ed, up to date info, bulletin board, links to relevant web sites, photos, and activity info.

    Here's a few other tihings to consider.....Set up your site to fit on 15" screen and load quickley on dial up. Test with different browsers. Avoid scripts and languages that my slow down the page. Format photos to load quickley. Keep all fonts and graphics consistant throughout the site.

    This is our site which uses some of the ideas outlined here and in other replies. www.hooksettfire.org The site was put together by a probie firefighter as part of a probationary project. His research included visiting many other sites and a some consulting from his peers.

  17. #17
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    Talking Here's Ours.................

    We're at www.gdvfd18.com a quick look will show you a lot, without going overboard.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    www.gdvfd18.com

  18. #18
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    Default Websites

    It does need to be fast loading that is for sure, along with having the elements necesary to rank high in th search engines.

    Photos are best kept on subordinate pages, because they load so slow. .gif aren't too bad, but when you get into the .jpg, you're looking at large files. This will also increase your bandwidth use/bill for your hosting, certainly if you get a lot of traffic.

    I've got two (2) sites in the VFD/EMS arena that I've got under development now.

    1. http://VFD-Funding.com where you'll see that I've added much more to this than what would be found typically at a web site for a VFD station.

    2. http://PioneerHose.com which I've got under development for one of the departments in my area. I'm still waiting on things from them like history, members, officers, and a time to take some photos of the apparatus. Here again with the photos, I've got to reduce those file sizes, after I take the pictures using my digital camera, not only for bandwidth, but load times as well. I'll end up scanning in some of the scene photos they give me. But, this is pretty much what I think will make for a nice, informative, easily navigated and easily maintained web site for a VFD.

    Will Griffin

  19. #19
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    No blinking-flashing-rotating clipart. Those are totally annoying. No fire hose or fireline tape borders, they are corney. It should fit on a 1024x768 screen without scrollbars. Make it look professional and make it load fast.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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