If you or someone on your team missed our recent CPSE-sponsored webinar, “DoD & Civilian Perspectives on Data Management for Accreditation Success,” we’ve got you covered. This blog post will give an overview of the key points from this webinar, which offers perspectives on the value of effective data management from the Department of Defense and civilian agencies. The webinar was hosted/moderated by Emergency Reporting Business Development Analyst Tom Louis, and featured two accreditation experts and ER users: Pete Korodini, FO, Division Chief and Accreditation Manager at Camp Pendleton Fire & Emergency Services (CA), and Rich Loewer, Deputy Chief/Accreditation Manager at Mount Dora Fire Department (FL).
First Speaker: Chief Korodini (Offering the DoD Perspective)
According to Korodini, what fire service leaders should focus on when measuring performance is outcomes. “Outcomes are most important and simpler for the community to understand,” he says. “Response times and call volume are very one-and-two dimensional in nature and do not provide an overall picture of how the department is performing.”
Korodini explained how Camp Pendleton successfully uses data to be able to tell their story to their community in order to secure the funding they need. He says that data helps “sell” why they are important and what their outcomes are to the residents and to their governing body. Since the department has begun doing this in 2016, they’ve been able to start construction on a new fire station, replace three out of four ambulances, and get increased funding for tools and equipment. Korodini says that without the ability to tell their story through data – if they don’t show why they need it, why it’s important, and how it’s going to affect the community – they would not be getting the funding needed to provide the services that they’re supposed to in their community.
Korodini described other scenarios where their department was able to use data to successfully communicate their needs and for a desired outcome. For example: “After conducting an analysis of total response times, we discovered that we were not meeting the USMC standard of 7 minutes, 90% of the time – no matter what we did, how fast we drove, or how fast our turnout times were. This was due to a lack of infrastructure and problems with our concentration & distribution of services.” He says the outcome after illustrating this through data was that the justification for a long-term deviation to the standard was authored and approved by USMC.
“Without the data, we would have a very hard time selling our case, especially to our governing body,” Korodini says.
Korodini gave some examples of specific reports in the Emergency Reporting records management system (RMS) that they use to extract data and then compile and assess their outcomes, making it easy to communicate successes and areas they need to improve:
“Fire service leaders today must understand the need for credible data, community needs, governing body requirements, and how to articulate your department’s performance and outcomes to all involved,” Korodini says.
Second Speaker: Chief Loewer (Offering the Civilian Perspective)
Chief Loewer explained that prior to 2016, Mount Dora Fire Department had not adopted any methodologies for assessing risk or performance, and generally lacked a strategic plan for handling future needs and growth (especially with how fast the area is planned to grow).
When they started the strategic planning process, Loewer says that one of the first things they did was to create a survey for their stakeholders to find out what their expectations were. The survey results revealed what their stakeholders wanted the most:
- Better response times
- Adequate staffing
- More community outreach/public education
In addressing these needs, he says it’s important to be able to communicate in a way that makes sense to stakeholders and average citizens. “How we convey information and our needs to the community is very important,” he says. For example, assessing call volume and type by zone has helped Mount Dora FD identify its needs to stakeholders. With data from ER, they’re able to show that their “Central Zone” (the downtown area, which he describes as the “lifeblood” of the city) has the highest call volume and greatest fire risk.
Loewer discussed some of the other tools they use in ER to get the data they need to communicate with stakeholders, such as the VISION Risk Assessment tool.
The VISION Risk Assessment tool generates an Occupancy Vulnerability Assessment Profile (OVAP) score for all occupancies in a department’s area and allows you to analyze data to develop a risk assessment for your area. Mount Dora FD has about 1,000 occupancies in the area and most (about 98%) now have an OVAP score for all of the buildings. The data showed that the highest number of risks were in that Central Zone.
Next, they are able to easily pull reports in ER to get data that shows Total Losses and Pre-Incident Values by year. “The city council wants to assess our performance…and we’re able to compare where we were for content loss and property loss and where we are now,” Loewer says.
He added that sometimes the city council has questions about their neighboring fire departments, and ER’s information-sharing feature, Agency Friends, helps them with this. “We have twelve fire departments in our county. We all use the same CAD and dispatch, and we all use ER,” Loewer says. A cool feature in ER is Agency Friends – I can gather a lot of information and data from our neighboring jurisdictions. It’s just one more layer of information to appease city council. I’m able to quickly show data that compares to our neighboring cities and I can pretty easily answer their questions.”
For Assessing Critical Infrastructure by Zone, Loewer explains that a quick and easy tab within the Occupancy Module of ER is a “Critical Infrastructure” drop-down. “Instead of having to establish a methodology for how you’re going to assess critical infrastructure, we just simply use this,” he says.
Loewer says he’s able to pull quarterly reports in ER to create simple graphs for city council that assess performance of travel times and turnout times, breaking it down by crew shift.
As far as addressing community outreach, Loewer says they needed to better assess the non-emergency needs of the community. Using the data extracted from ER, they were able to determine what those needs are. Report 1195 – Presence and Operation of Detectors for Data Range, for example, offers a picture of smoke detector presence and performance. This data helped them to assess the community outreach and what was needed (e.g., installing more detectors, increasing outreach for changing detectors and batteries, etc.). 1693 – Cause of Ignition for Zone for Date Range is another useful report they pull. “Basic NFIRS data is really easy to pull in ER, and we can utilize that data to go out and do community outreach and prevention stuff,” Loewer said.
Loewer says that by using all of this data to tell their department’s story and justify its needs, they’ve been able to successfully manage the three main expectations that stakeholders identified as being most important (adequate staffing, better response times, and community outreach). The outcome is that they’ve since hired 12 firefighters and placed a second unit (tower truck) in service, and secured funding to relocate both of their current fire stations to better locations and add an additional fire station in the coming years. This will improve travel times and add personnel. As far as Community Outreach, he says COVID-19 has put those plans on hold; but when things go back to normal, they plan to utilize ER’s Events Module to better track outreach and education, such as public events at school, CPR classes, etc.
To view past educational webinars or to register for upcoming webinars offered by Emergency Reporting, visit our educational webinars page.