How To Choose The Best Canadian-Based Fire Software
2021 Buyers Guide
What should a high-quality reporting & records management system (RMS) provide?
Your Fire software should make it easy for you to accurately document incident details. It’s important that your all your data is stored in Canada. Be sure to choose a RMS that hosts your data in a secure environment in country to ensure that Canadian data residency and sovereignty are honoured.
A good system should also include tools that enable you to efficiently manage all of your agency’s needs, from internal tracking for payroll and certifications to recording community data such as occupancy and hydrant maintenance records.
High quality RMS providers also focus on providing excellent support and training for their customers. Whether you’re upgrading from paper forms or from a software solution that isn’t meeting your needs, switching from your current system to your new provider should be a simple and painless process.
Many programs are available for data management, however, most quality RMS systems also include a diverse collection of powerful station management tools, as well as API capability that allows for seamless integration with other tools you already use.
Some useful tools and benefits to look for in an RMS include:
- Inventory & maintenance records
- The ability to record occupancy & hydrant data
- A library for storing important digital documents
- Data storage with advanced filtering & internal reporting
- Microsoft Azure Ability to provide a high level of security of data & sensitive patient information
- Access via mobile devices
- Internal messaging capabilities
- Daily rosters Ability to provide a high of security of data
- Payroll &/or points tracking Secured hosting in environments like
- Ability to conduct onsite inspections with customized electronic forms
- Full training management Asset management like customized rig checks
Hardware & network requirements.
In order for software to function properly, your agency will need to make sure it has the correct infrastructure in place. Some software is locally installed, often on a single computer. If considering a boxed software option like this, it is important for your agency to check that its computers have the operating system and storage space required for installation.
Another popular option is to use a software provider offering “software as a service” or SaaS. With this option, the vendor manages the software, data storage, and any system updates, and the customer accesses the system through a web connection. This is often a much more reliable and cost-effective solution for agencies who lack the time and/or IT personnel to manage a secure in-house system.
Most importantly, SaaS vendors use the cloud for data backup and security. They provide physically isolated data centers and protected networks. These are separate from general networks and are maintained to prevent unwanted communications and block unauthorized users, making them inherently safer.
What Are the Advantages of a High-Quality Reporting & RMS?
Decreased Time Spent on Paperwork & Maximum Efficiency
A good reporting and records management system will save you time. Manual processes are eliminated, allowing your team to focus on the job and not on paperwork.
- Keep all electronic records in one cohesive system.
- Store digital files, including videos and photos, inside each record.
- Ensure all reports are complete.
The best reporting and records management systems track user interactions with electronic records and help to eliminate human error.
- Electronic records track user interaction with incident reports and more.
- Reports for analysis of station performance are easy to run.
- Web-based systems allow access from anywhere, anytime.
- Look for systems that allow unlimited concurrent users.
Decreased Time Spent on Paperwork & Maximum Efficiency
Many records management systems allow you to run reports on your data to identify areas of operational strength and weakness within your agency. It’s important that it’s just as easy to get your data out of your software, as it is to put it in.
- Run reports on personnel—hours worked, training, certification, etc.
- Keep track of response times and other standards of cover.
- Defend your budget—track the value of your saves for your community.
- Share reports and data with other fire service members and city officials easily.
Consistency & Security
Keep all your data in one comprehensive system.
- Store common forms and templates.
- Use system best practices to ensure data integrity.
- Set up notifications pertinent to your agency.
- Control user permissions and data access with administrative features.
- Save time and resources by choosing an RMS that makes switching from your current system easy and painless.
- Hosted in a secure environment, like Microsoft Azure.
- Make sure data is hosted in Canada to ensure Canadian data residency and sovereignty are honoured.
- Follows high level security best practices to protect sensitive personnel and department data.
Steps to successfully implement a fire reporting & records management software.
Make a Plan
- Identify key decision makers and interview them to understand their specific needs out of a Fire software.
- Plan a timeline for implementation.
- Assemble a team to help with the selection.
Consider Your Resources
- What hardware requirements do you have?
- Outline the available budget.
- Do you have the staff needed to implement the software?
- What long-term resources may need to be committed?
Evaluate & Try
- Gauge the ease of use of varying products.
- Request demos from several of your top choices to compare.
- Use a comparison checklist to help you compare RMS companies.
- Discuss if and how your existing records can be imported.
- Take a look at customer reviews and ask other departments for references.
- Look at how the RMS integrates with other tools your department uses, including your CAD system.
- Consider your contract terms with various vendors.
Select & Implement
- Set up your account and import data, if available.
- Get field experts to train your team on how to use the system.
- Establish organizational best practices.
- Analyse your goals and assess the results.