As the subject queries, is anyone using this service? For those who aren't familiar with it, it is a pretty slick-looking tool to augment your knowledge of who's attending when the pagers go off. In addition to giving the membership the ability to mark themselves as being en route to the station/scene with one speed-dialed call, there are other features like logging who is on duty, sending messages to department members, and all the services being accessible by the dispatcher, etc., making it look very attractive to departments like mine.
There are tons of testimonials on their site, but none of them a) have any info about cost and 2) have any reference to whether or not Canadian departments are able to use the service. I saw a comment on another forum that one US department is paying $60/month for the service. There's a link on the site to ask questions/request info, and an opportunity for requesting a two-month trial, both of which I intend to do after my vacation is over; but I'm hoping someone from Canada has got this service so I can know if it's even available to us.
Thanks in advance!
My department in NYS has used this system for 2 years, and it really does work. There is nothing better than knowing who is responding, as soon as I walk into the station, or look at my phone, or a computer before I leave for the call. We know immediately if we have enough personnel, or whether or not we need a second activation. I know whether I can get 2 trucks out, if I have 2 drivers, etc. I don't leave members behind on calls any more, since I know that they are coming. My chiefs love the system, as we can see in seconds all of this information.
The messaging system has really improved communications in my department. We can create up to 50 different messaging groups, and send emails and text messages from anywhere we are to all of the groups. Every member keeps their own emails, text addresses and other info up to date, so there is no real administrative time spent.
The cost is the same in the US as in Canada (have to pay in US dollars). The system does work in Canada and is being expanded as we speak throughout Canada. We can explain that a bit more in person. If you call, ask for Elizabeth.
IamResponding.com, at most, costs $1,100 a year, but can certainly cost less. If you sign up for one year, it is an annual cost of $800 per year. If you sign up for 3 years, the cost is $725 a year. A 5 year subscription is $650 a year. There is a 1 time set up cost of $50 for the life of the program. The only additional cost, which has a maximum of $300 a year, is the calls to the toll free number. That cost is 2.8 cents per call (for 1000 calls into the system, is $28). Again, it cannot ever exceed $300 regardless of how many calls you make.
With iamresponding phone numbers, individual callers are not charged for a call. Those charges are picked up by the Department so that members won't have a reason not to use the system.
So, total costs of 1,100 a year, but usually much less.
The system has a scheduling program, vehicle tracker, full messaging system, and very, very soon, even more records management tools to assist your department... all included for free.
Something doesn't sit right with me here. I don't know about anyone else, I but I don't take the time to look at my computer, or check my phone, or such before I leave for a call. Tones go off over the pager, I'm grabbing a coat, and heading for the door.
I can see if it was tied to your dispatch center, and they were able to update responding officers of who was responding over portable radio enroute to the hall that it could be useful, just don't unerstand the looking at phone/computer aspect.
"We're all in this together"
- Steve "Red Green" Smith
I think the reference to the computer means the computer set up at the hall specifically for the purpose of displaying this info, or I believe it can even be displayed on the truck's MDT, or on the responding officer's MDT. As for the phone many of our FFs along with a page, automatically get a text to our cell phones with the address, event info, and even maps and available hydrants if you're on a BlackBerry. Whether by text or on MDT, both would eliminate the need for dispatch to tie up the air updating the number of responding FFs...kinda the whole arguement behind not giving everyone a portable radio in the first place. Sounds pretty slick. Though I think a better solution would be to just hire maybe 16 or 20 of us full time. That way you've always got 4 guys responding...so, no need for the complicated computer system.
Thanks. On dialup here. Wasn't able to check the video out. Got on some highspeed and took a look - all makes sense now. Just was thinking that it was kind of strange that someone would have time to sit down/log into whatever on the computer to take a look, but obviously I was not totally understanding the system.
Looks neat - think it would be a good thing at our dispatch center even - during the day, we are often low in numbers. With this system, they could maintain a minimum number of responders and get more stations rolling quicker - ie., wait 90 seconds for responding firefighters to call in, if # not sufficient for type of call, get another station rolling, instead of us telling them that #'s aren't sufficient and having them page another station 5 minutes later.
"We're all in this together"
- Steve "Red Green" Smith
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