Volunteer Fire Case Study: Newtown, CT

  • Population: 27,891 (2019 est.)
  • Tyler Client Since: 2000
  • Tyler Products Used: Fire & EMS
  • Profile: Founded in 1705, Newtown, Connecticut, witnessed history dating back to pre-Revolutionary War. Today, the small town in western Connecticut is known for being a close-knit community, with a large percentage of commuters working in Manhattan, New York, and the Hartford and Stamford, Connecticut areas. Newtown is well-known for being the location where former resident and famed game-maker James Brunot developed Scrabble.

CHALLENGE

In Connecticut, public safety agencies operate on individual dispatch and records management systems. Over the past several years, a Connecticut-based law enforcement CAD system was adopted state-wide in response to state-specific forms and information. Although the system proved helpful for dispatch and records activities, Maureen Will, director of Newtown Emergency Communications Center, was concerned the software solution was not meeting the needs and requirements for the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corp. or the five volunteer fire departments' needs.

To meet these needs, the director needed to make a critical decision to find a third-party system that would not overload dispatchers while still offering mission-critical information to emergency crews.

SOLUTION

To help navigate these challenges, the director of the Newtown Emergency Communications Center chose to maintain the New World Fire & EMS application.

Before the law enforcement CAD change, Newtown operated on New World CAD. By maintaining the New World Fire & EMS application, dispatchers didn’t have to learn how to manage a different software system.

RESULTS

During an emergency call, dispatchers know time is critical. Using New World Fire & EMS with the law enforcement CAD software, Newtown dispatchers can seamlessly collect information from the 911 caller and dispatch emergency personnel.

“We have 60 seconds from time of call to time of dispatch,” said Maureen Will, director of Newtown Emergency Communication Center. “This is a standard that also includes call entries.”

With the help of the New World Fire & EMS application, dispatchers can enter the call quickly and efficiently in a way that suits Newtown’s operations model.

In addition, the application also assists decision-making faculties for command staff. Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping enables command staff to make staging decisions and communicate information to volunteer fire units not equipped with mobile data terminals (MDTs).

I have had nothing but great luck with the New World Fire & EMS. We find it a very easy and an efficient way of dispatching our five volunteer fire companies.

Maureen Will

Director of Newtown Emergency Communications Center

For fire crews, this includes hydrant information, alarm alerts, and even solar panel locations — all of which impact what equipment crews choose to take on the scene.

Similarly, for EMS, sharing information on emergency key box locations and hazardous waste containment help first responders gain building access safely. Recently, EMS responders have also received COVID-19 alerts from dispatch, informing crews to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in known COVID-19 hotspots.

CONSIDERATIONS

Unlike many larger cities, Newtown’s fire and ambulance services are provided solely by volunteers. With limited access to hardware in volunteer units, Newtown ensures that dispatchers’ software is compatible with the needs of fire and EMS personnel.

CONCLUSIONS

Using New World Fire & EMS in conjunction with the current law enforcement CAD and record management tools, Newtown Emergency Communications adopted a software solution that meets the agency’s unique needs.

Although dispatchers are trained to use two platforms, the intuitive, user-friendly software interface enables users to toggle between CAD and New World Fire & EMS programs quickly. By doing so, dispatchers can quickly collect call information while dispatching crews and equipment to the scene, equipping first responders with as much information as possible.

Every time we use the software, we have a positive outcome. We’re able to get the responders out very quickly and efficiently based on just how that system operates. It’s not clunky. It’s very, very user (dispatcher) friendly.

Maureen Will

Director of Newtown Emergency Communications Center

For Will and her trainers (who train new dispatchers to use both the CAD and New World Fire & EMS system), having access to a friendly support team helps to validate the decision to operate on two telecommunications systems.

“The support staff helps us walk through some of the issues that we have, and usually it’s something that is so minor,” said Will. “To us, it’s a big deal, but to the tech staff, they kind of giggle. But they help you, and they treat you really, really well.”

Case Study Highlights

  • Agency supported by volunteer fire and ambulance departments
  • Use New World Fire & EMS in conjunction with state-wide CAD system
  • GIS enables better decision-making capabilities

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