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The traditional role of fire departments has always been to rescue life and goods during incidents and advise on preventive measures during construction. Slowly fire departments are also focusing on education of the public on how to live safely. General campaigns to install smoke detectors are well known to the public. Making sure that people can live safely in the place they call home is the ultimate goal of the modern fire department. Although the education has had a significant impact on the number of fatalities, especially in residential fires, it seems that the decline has stabilized. In the last decade more and more fire departments have been conducting forensic research in the after math of fires in residential areas. This has developed in clear insights in which factors play an important role in the likelihood of a fire at home. Together with the abundance of data about the general population in residential areas it should be possible to create insights in the locations where residential fires are more likely to happen.

“If fire departments have fire risk specific insights, isn’t it their moral obligation to educate the people at risk better?”

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The world around us, the environment we as fire departments operate in, is more and more focused on data and the digital information devices that come with it. In the past decade digital information dramatically changed our personal lives , think about it: social media, online shopping, online banking and instant worldwide news coverage. To stimulate economic growth we read a lot about ‘Data driven economy’ and ‘Data is the new oil’, but what does this mean for us, the fire departments? Currently a lot of fire station’s get dispatched by a LED news ticker with encoded messages, announcements called by the voice of a speech computer or a traditional radio broadcast directly by the dispatcher. Some fire depart¬ments have a matrix printer from which they tear of a paper run sheet before leaving. This information is enriched after leaving the station, either by more information which is available in the vehicle, delivered through apps on tablet computers, summary information from a navigation system, information on paper or by the dispatcher over the radio. RESC.Info Monitor is a system designed for use as a center of information for emergency responders. The system is device agnostic, focusing on the information itself rather than the mode of delivery.

“RESC.Info Monitor gives me all the information I can absorb in the 10 seconds before we turn out”

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Now that emergency services are starting to use electronic data exchange more and more, it is important that all parties participating in this data exchange have agreement about the terms and definitions used. Or at least have access to the definitions of the terms used. An electronic data dictionary that is available on-line ensures that all parties can always consult the latest version of the data dictionary. In addition to making the terms available, it is recommended to also manage and maintain these terms in an on-line platform. This prevents the ‘disappearance’ of the definitions in text documents or spreadsheets on websites.

Firebrary, the electronic data dictionary for the Dutch fire service.