Interview
This is how the Zofingen Fire Department uses the Firetab deployment software

Daniela Obrecht, 30.05.2018
The city of Zofingen, located in the canton of Aargau and with a population of 11,500, has a base fire department that supports an additional 26 municipalities, 4 of which are in the canton of Lucerne, in case of need. With the 37 year old Simon Graber, the deputy chief of the control center of the militia fire department Zofingen, the fire department has been able to win over a dedicated firefighter. For him, the Firetab software is an extremely helpful tool for efficiently handling all the data and deployment plans. Here he reports about his experiences.

You work intensively with Firetab. How did it come about?

In search of a reliable software for smooth operations, we decided on the Firetab® solution, which also displays the data pictorially and is easy to use. Already during my time at the fire department Oftringen, where I was active as commander, Firetab fulfilled the requirements optimally. So it was clear to me to also work with this proven software for blue-light organizations at the Zofingen Fire Department. As deputy chief of the control center, I am responsible for the deployment plans, mutations and specifications.

How would you summarize the software's performance?

In the event of an emergency, Firetab provides the geo-referenced data of deployment plans and building plans within seconds, and also keeps the identical current data available offline on the tablet in the command vehicle.

Then FIReTAB® useful for all operations?

We have an average of over 120 deployments per year. Firetab is used in 90 percent of the incidents. On the large screen in the magazine, the repetition of the alarm, the location of the operation, important icons in long-distance and close-up view are visually displayed. In addition, we can see with which vehicles, in which order we have to go out and which neighboring fire departments will be deployed. The information visible on the screen is the confirmation of all inputs for the upcoming operation. Firetab provides the optimal support. Although the firefighters know the region well, this software gives us security and orientation. For example, we may know where the nearest hydrant is, but when we need additional water, Firetab immediately shows where another hydrant is located. The same applies to fire alarm systems, key pipes, underground garages or photo voltaic systems.

How does the cross-organizational cooperation with the fire departments of neighboring communities work?

The Zofingen fire department works directly with the Oftringen and Strengelbach fire departments. It is up to each organization to use Firetab. Each fire department has the right to read and access the necessary data. I alone am responsible for the mutation and updating of data. We have stored special approach routes in Firebat for operations in neighboring communities. These only appear if the neighboring towns are in the alarm.

What are your recommendations to fire departments that want to use Firetab choose?

A common understanding of the data structure is important for smooth collaboration. I recommend defining at the beginning in a workshop which data should be visible at which level. Firetab offers practical layers for this. Then there needs to be clear responsibility and planning for the digitization of the data. At the Zofingen Fire Department, almost all data is now available digitally in addition to the paper form, thanks to Firetab.

How much time do you invest in data maintenance?

Data maintenance is time-consuming. But that is not due to the system. New buildings, conversions, traffic changes, detours, etc. result in adjustments. Even if it takes a bit more time, I can only recommend to record the data adjustments completely, carefully and in detail. I am responsible for ensuring that Firetab® is always up-to-date. This usually costs me about two hours per week.

What is your overall experience with Firetab and the Azurito company?

I chose the Firetab application software because it is very convenient to work with. Data entry is easy and I can enter it into the system anywhere, at home or on the road, early in the morning or over lunch. Once the data is entered, I only have to update the tablet, which is always ready in the fire department's magazine. That takes about thirty minutes. I am convinced of the performance of this blue-light software and especially appreciate the interaction with the people in charge. My input and concerns are heard and taken seriously. For us, it is an advantage that we can choose modules or not, tailored to our way of working. I have been an active firefighter for 16 years, and put a lot of time and heart and soul into this militia work. Part of this is that I always want to push the operation, including logistics, further. With Azurito, I have the right innovative partner for this.

fire department-zofingen-operation

Apps for heroes About the Zofingen Fire Department

The Zofingen city and base fire department is responsible for rescue and damage control in the event of fires, explosions, natural hazards and traffic accidents in the municipality and as a base assistance service for the 22 assigned Aargau and 4 Lucerne municipalities and for 1 company fire department. It also responds to water, oil, and chemical incidents, oxygen assistance, and human and animal rescue in emergencies. The operational area includes 53 highway kilometers of the A1 and A2. The 100-strong fire department is deployed a good 120 times a year. There is an alarm network with the fire departments of Oftringen and Strengelbach. The vehicle fleet includes 16 special vehicles.

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