Does anyone use "IamResponding.com"?

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Hacienda216
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Postby Hacienda216 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:30 am

We're using FirstResponder.ca currently. Not as slick looking as IamResponding.com, but it should take some of the guess work out of our current responses. We've been running into some staffing levels during the work day and on weekends every once in a while, and we're also running additional calls to augment another one of our stations that is seriously understaffed at the moment. Unlike IamResponding, we don't call a toll free number; my cell plan includes unlimited local calls, but this isn't the case for all our FFer's. We're still working out the details, but should be interesting.

DeputyMikey
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Postby DeputyMikey » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:08 pm

I know the City of Leduc Fire Services is using it (Leduc, Alberta). When I seen it in their station they were only using it for a couple of week at that time. I thought it was a slick looking system, they couldn't remember what the program was called. I had actually forgotten about it until the other day when I seen this thread. I showed our Chief and he can see high value in it, as can I. We are seriously looking at it for our stations.

Mike

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Hacienda216
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Postby Hacienda216 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:49 pm

[quote=""DeputyMikey""]I know the City of Leduc Fire Services is using it (Leduc, Alberta). When I seen it in their station they were only using it for a couple of week at that time. I thought it was a slick looking system, they couldn't remember what the program was called. I had actually forgotten about it until the other day when I seen this thread. I showed our Chief and he can see high value in it, as can I. We are seriously looking at it for our stations.

Mike[/quote]

It makes a lot of sense. Basically our chief said that if it can help keep him from having to tone out another station once a year because he had to make a guess at available staffing levels, its paid for itself. Our station doesn't have staffing issues typically, but there's a built in schedule that can show when everyone's vacation time is stacking up on each other and you're left with only a skeleton crew. In these cases its nice to glance at your blackberry and know right away that you only have 4 FFs available to respond.

Nagrom
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Postby Nagrom » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:21 pm

I've been watching this thread for a bit. It is now time to comment.

My department has had the system for approximately a month. I have not used the system a whole lot, but will speak of what I know.

Iamresponding itself-

Pros

Seems to be working ok. The first officer at the station seems to like it, and I have heard of our chief officers using it on their Blackberries. Seems very easy to use when responding. I managed to call in and select a response option while putting my shoes on at the same time.

Cons
As far as I know right now, a toll free number is not set up yet. According to the company, this translates into a +/- $0.30 fee to the phone, depending on your carrier. My theory is that they don't give you a toll free number untill you sign on with a contract. They have a 2 month free trial right now. I figure this is a way to recoup costs during this trial period. This is speculation on my part only.

Some members still don't seem completely sure of how to use the system. Education and training would be the key with that, however, I can see potential where some older people could have problems using the phone call system [ie speed dial... I know many older people would not even know how to use speed dial, let alone program it]

The current setup in our dispatch room seems to work slowly sometimes. I think this is because it was an older computer, that had been used for just about everything. I would suggest a computer specifically for Iamresponding. If using an old used computer, I'd have it wiped clean of any non-essential programs.

Text/Email Messaging-

Our account is set up so members get texted with events, messages, and sometimes even calls. The messaging works great. It is done in house. It gets rid of the need for pager test messages that are hard to hear.

As far as I understand, calls are supposed to be dispatched to our cell phones in a text message. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen too often. I have heard not all dispatchers know how to use the system. I know our dispatchers can be very busy sometimes. The way I see it, however, is that we are paying for the capability, and should be recieving it. [This has more to do with us and our dispatcher, not Iamresponding] If I called the shots, I would pay more for dispatch service if required, to include the call texting.


I have more, but that is all I can type right now.

If you want an opinion from me now: I like it, and think it will be a great tool provided everyone buys into it and uses it consistantly, without stopping when the novelty wears off.

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Hacienda216
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Postby Hacienda216 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:53 pm

[quote=""Nagrom""]I've been watching this thread for a bit. It is now time to comment.

My department has had the system for approximately a month. I have not used the system a whole lot, but will speak of what I know.

Iamresponding itself-

Pros

Seems to be working ok. The first officer at the station seems to like it, and I have heard of our chief officers using it on their Blackberries. Seems very easy to use when responding. I managed to call in and select a response option while putting my shoes on at the same time.

Cons
As far as I know right now, a toll free number is not set up yet. According to the company, this translates into a +/- $0.30 fee to the phone, depending on your carrier. My theory is that they don't give you a toll free number untill you sign on with a contract. They have a 2 month free trial right now. I figure this is a way to recoup costs during this trial period. This is speculation on my part only.

Some members still don't seem completely sure of how to use the system. Education and training would be the key with that, however, I can see potential where some older people could have problems using the phone call system [ie speed dial... I know many older people would not even know how to use speed dial, let alone program it]

The current setup in our dispatch room seems to work slowly sometimes. I think this is because it was an older computer, that had been used for just about everything. I would suggest a computer specifically for Iamresponding. If using an old used computer, I'd have it wiped clean of any non-essential programs.

Text/Email Messaging-

Our account is set up so members get texted with events, messages, and sometimes even calls. The messaging works great. It is done in house. It gets rid of the need for pager test messages that are hard to hear.

As far as I understand, calls are supposed to be dispatched to our cell phones in a text message. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen too often. I have heard not all dispatchers know how to use the system. I know our dispatchers can be very busy sometimes. The way I see it, however, is that we are paying for the capability, and should be recieving it. [This has more to do with us and our dispatcher, not Iamresponding] If I called the shots, I would pay more for dispatch service if required, to include the call texting.


I have more, but that is all I can type right now.

If you want an opinion from me now: I like it, and think it will be a great tool provided everyone buys into it and uses it consistantly, without stopping when the novelty wears off.[/quote]

Sounds more like problems with your dispatch and text system than Iamresponding. Our trial with FirstResponder doesn't include a toll free number either, but I do believe you're correct that its included when you pay for the system. Plus the fact that we're being paid $60 a call kinda offsets the $0.10 your phone call costs you if you don't have unlimited local calling.

Nagrom
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Postby Nagrom » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:51 pm

Yeah, the current problems are not the fault of Iamresponding, but rather a factor of a lack of education, or possibly understanding between agencies. I suspect they will get better with time and training.

To continue on...

Iamresponding also has a schedualing feature. This is not used extensively yet, but basically it allows a member to post when they are or not availible. This shows up on the screen with the list of responding members.

From what I have seen the biggest obstacle to this system operating like it should is getting your people to buy into it. People have to use it consistantly. My departments experience with people using it have so far been good. There are some people who don't call in, but they live close enough to the station that for them calling in on the system is not doing a lot of benefit anyways.

The times I do foresee a great benefit is with members who live a distance from the station, like I do. There have been many times a truck with an empty seat has left as people were turning into the parking lot. With Iamresponding, that may not happen as much anymore, unless the officer makes a decision to go.

As for the cost of the phone calls, I don't have a problem with it. We don't run enough calls for me to notice it really. However, there are others who I am sure will raise a stink about it. Really I cannot blame them. Our number to call has a Georgia area code. Unfortunately, that means long distance charges.

I have limited experience with the system. We have had it for less than a month now. It still has kinks, but, I think it is a step in the right direction, and could be a great tool.

One common topic I have seen brought up with regards to this system is using it while driving. When responding from home, it is possible to call in while walking to the car, waiting for it to warm up, or even starting the car . If you happen to be out driving, you have a decision to make as to whether you call while driving or stop. The phone call generally takes about 10 seconds. I let others form their opinion on that one.

NoJo
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Postby NoJo » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:08 am

My Department has been using this for coming up 2 months now. I think it is an extremely valuable tool.

The scheduling tool is being used more and more each week. We're getting a decent amount of guys calling in too. As a career member, when the tones come in, we start the truck, get our gear on, and check the computer. For all runs except medicals, we try our best to roll a full rig. With this program, we are able to roll sooner if we know we only have two additional guys showing up, and we can leave without waiting to see if one more guy is coming. Or, we know if we can roll and staff two trucks right away.

We have a computer set up right beside our radio bank, and it is used entirely for iamresponding.com, so a quick glance at the computer when the officer grabs the radios is simple. Effective soon, we will have a computer in the Chiefs vehicle to display this website so he knows not just what apparatus is responding, but who will be on it.

At our other station which has zero career staffing, the computer is in the alarm room and the page is left up for when the first member arrives to book the station on the air.

I think it is a great tool, and we've been able to maximize its effectiveness when we need to roll multiple trucks, and especially the quint which only has a handful of qualified operators.

I would recommend this program, and I think we will see some of the other departments in our region give it a try. If that happens, I think we'll have our dispatchers involved as well providing us with additional info.

Also, for those with concerns for calling and driving - there is a defualt setting. How the system works is that you dial the 1800 number, then press the corresponding number to what you're doing. IE: press 1 for station 1, 2 for station 2, 3 for delayed response, 4 for on scene, etc. etc. The default setting is whatever your preferred selection is. So, if you don't press anything, it selects #1 and automatically hangs up. For myself, when I use the program, I auto dial the number, then put my phone on the seat of my truck and forget about it. I press 1 button to dial, thats it.

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command
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Postby command » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:01 am

would this be worth it for a dept who runs 130 calls a year between 2 stations? (stn 1 80 per year, stn 2 50 per year) ? im not even sure if our stn has the internet. our stn 1 might, but stn 2 does not. that would be an aditional cost.

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Hacienda216
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Postby Hacienda216 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:46 pm

[quote=""command""]would this be worth it for a dept who runs 130 calls a year between 2 stations? (stn 1 80 per year, stn 2 50 per year) ? im not even sure if our stn has the internet. our stn 1 might, but stn 2 does not. that would be an aditional cost.[/quote]

Its a pretty minimal cost. If you have staffing level problems it could help you to know sooner that you're going to need another station, or mutual aid, etc.

Unfortunately the system is of no use to me right now. I switched to a BlackBerry last week and I have a blocked number. By dialing *82 (I would just include this in the speed dial entry eg. *82-505-555-5555) on my old phone it would unblock my number for that call. For some reason my BlackBerry won't make the call if I prefix it with *82. And if your number's blocked, the system has no idea who's calling.

DSeidberg
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Postby DSeidberg » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:40 pm

Hi all . . .

Thanks all for the kind words about the IamResponding.com system, which was the first to ever offer automated, web-based, member call-in technology to the emergency services field, and which is now used by more than 73,000 of your peers.

I just want to take a quick moment to clarify one item posted above concerning the toll free numbers. This is not something where there is a difference in what is provided during the 2 month free trial. Rather, some of our Canadian subscribers are currently using regional call-in numbers (rather than toll-free or local numbers) because there is an issue in their region with the Canadian cell towers conveying inaccurate caller ID information from cellphone based calls to our network. When we receive inaccurate caller ID information, members' calls do not correctly post to your department's screen. That has not been an issue with the numbers that have been provisioned to users in those regions.

While we have worked on resolving this issue with the Canadian telephone carriers, we have provided significant discounts to any of our affected Canadian subscribers. The intent of this was that the departments could use the cost savings to reimburse their members for the cost of the phone calls made by the members (for those members who do not have free long distance calling plans).

We have developed a solution to this issue that will soon enable ALL Canadian subscribers to have either toll free, or regional call-in numbers, and we plan to have that solution deployed soon.

As far as what happens when members do call in, each member only has to program a single speed dial number per department. When responding, members simply speed-dial that single number, and then drop their phones. After connecting to our system (which does not require your department to pay for or host any phone lines), the system will automatically disconnect the call after 10 seconds. Each member can choose any of 9 pre-set "destinations" or "responses" as their default, which controls what posts on the screen when you call in. If responding to somewhere other than your default location, you speed dial the same number, and then simply press one additional button (any number between 1 and 9) after the call has been answered by our automated system, and a different destination apears on your screen.

As far as the blackberry issue goes with not being able to disable caller-ID blocking as part of a speed-dial setting, we have not heard of that being an issue anywhere else, and presume that should be able to be resolved directly with the phone service provider. If it can not be, please let us know directly, and we will work with you to identify a solution.

Testimonials from some of our 75,000 users, a demonstration video, and more information about IamResponding.com is available on our website. Please also feel free to contact us at any time at 315-701-1372, or to email me directly.

Thanks, and be safe!
Dan Seidberg
President, IamResponding.com
[email protected]


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