We all know that having detailed, informative, pre-incident plans can save property and even lives. A good pre-plan has the information needed by the Incident Commander to make life or death decisions at the scene. At a major incident, there are so many questions to be answered regarding building composition, utility shut-offs, FDC’s, and hazardous materials. You should be able to get answers in seconds from your pre-plan and site diagram.
So, we agree that we need better pre-plans, but how can we get them? It’s too expensive to hire someone to create your pre-plans, you probably are struggling budget-wise to hold on to the personnel you have now. Besides, wouldn’t it be best if Fire Fighters created the preplans so they could become familiar with the sites and hazards they might have to face?
Now all Fire Fighters can create detailed, electronic pre-incident plans like this one with The Fire Zone drawing software! The Fire Zone is easy to learn and use because it was designed only to be used by Fire Fighters. You can find your diagrams instantly when you use First Look Pro on your mobile computers to complete all of your pre-fire plans with diagrams, photographs, and information about the structure, hydrants, hazardous materials, and more.
The Auburn, Indiana, Fire Department recognizes the importance of having detailed pre-incident plans for the buildings in their district. When fire personnel are responding to an incident, having access to critical details about the occupancy can greatly improve the safety and effectiveness of the response. First Look Pro, available from The CAD Zone, has proven to be the ideal application for providing that information to First Responders in Auburn.
Auburn FD chose First Look Pro to ensure their pre-incident plans were highly accessible in their six lead engines, without any dependence on the internet or a wide-area-network. Deputy Chief Doug Cox explained “We don’t have MDCs (mobile data computers) in our engines. Instead, we upload current pre-fire plans to notebook computers that are carried on the vehicles. Firefighters can then pull that information up in First Look Pro while on the way to an incident or once they get to the scene.”
Auburn FD first came up with this method of accessing pre-incident plans because they did not have the budget to purchase several, very expensive, mobile data computers. By using standard computer notebooks, the department saved thousands of dollars, but they still could have instant access to their critical pre-incident plans. By using First Look Pro, all of Auburn’s pre-incident plans, including diagrams, photographs, maps, and other documents can be stored locally on the notebooks in the vehicles.
When is a pre-fire plan finally complete? Well, if you ask Chief Alan Roy of Palmer Fire & Rescue in Palmer, Massachusetts, the answer is….never. “You may build a pre-fire plan, but it’s never really done,” Chief Roy says. “It’s a work in progress.”
Like so many fire departments, Palmer Fire & Rescue used to keep cryptic, paper pre-fire plans in three-ring binders. Searching for information on structures was cumbersome and time-consuming, plus pre-plan data often was outdated. This changed in 2007 when Western Massachusetts Fire Departments secured funding from a Homeland Security grant that allowed them to purchase First Look Pro pre-fire planning software from The CAD Zone, Inc., for its fire departments. Using First Look Pro has helped Palmer Fire & Rescue and the other fire departments in the district make tremendous progress in pre-fire planning.
Plans Being Created for Thousands of Structures
Chief Roy reports that initially his department obtained 5,845 records of structures they wanted to pre-plan. They used First Look Pro’s data importing feature to bring the basic address information for these occupancies into the software. Now the department is working to add the critical pre-fire information to these records, including details of the structure, access, nearby hydrants, hazardous materials, contacts, photographs, floor plan diagrams, and so on.