Mashpee Fire Department Adopts Digital Logbooks
In Preparation for the Future, Mashpee Fire Department Breaks with Tradition
Mashpee, MA—Like many fire departments across the nation, the Mashpee Fire Department has maintained a hand-written logbook for decades. The logbooks record the department’s daily activities, including service calls, safety inspections, equipment maintenance, apparatus testing, personnel on duty, training exercises, meetings and visits from the public. Archived logbooks provide a detailed account of life in the fire department over time. They are a rich resource and, for many, a beloved tradition. Over the past several months, and with a new software system provided by the Massachusetts-based company StationSmarts, Mashpee has replaced the traditional paper logbooks with a digital version that can be accessed by department staff from a computer, tablet or mobile phone.
“There are a lot of benefits to digitizing the logbooks,” said Thomas C. Rullo, Chief of the Mashpee Fire Department. “Aside from the countless administrative efficiencies of using the new system, the most important benefit is the improvement in communication within the department. A key component of our operation is what we call a ‘pass-on book’. It records the fact that the fire hydrant at the corner of Smith and Washington is out of service, or that testing is being conducted on the alarm system, or that a piece of firefighting apparatus needs to be repaired. It keeps everyone in the department up to date with vital day-to-day operational details. With the old paper logbooks, information would get buried under other entries. But with StationSmarts, you can find the pass-on book with the touch of a button.”
The department is digitizing its records at a good time. State and federal agencies are encouraging more and more departments to digitize their records and reporting functions, and standards organizations such as the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and the Insurance Services Office (ISO) frequently promote the advantages of a digitally integrated records management system. Many in the fire services industry believe digital recordkeeping will eventually be mandatory. Not only do digital records management systems enhance operational efficiency and improve data accuracy, but they make it much easier for fire departments to demonstrate that they are in compliance with industry best practices.
The new records management system is a key component in Chief Rullo’s determined effort to earn accreditation for the Mashpee Fire Department from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). The CPSE serves as the governing body for organizations that offer accreditation, education and credentialing services to fire service industry professionals and other emergency service departments and agencies. Only 200 fire departments in the United States are accredited by the CPSE; no department has been granted such status in Massachusetts. According to the CPSE, the rigorous, three-year self-assessment accreditation process is designed to help fire departments find ways to improve service delivery based on best practices across the fire services industry
“Our department participated in an applied research project designed to tell us what it would take to get accredited by CPSE,” said Chief Rullo. “Digital records are critical to that effort both in terms of completing the accreditation process and demonstrating the department’s proficiency and professionalism. Accreditation provides a path forward so we can continue to improve our performance. It provides a framework—a master plan for every aspect of the department that responds to the concerns of our personnel, town officials, business owners and residents. Ultimately, it will enable us to be even more efficient and effective in serving our community. And that is our principal goal.”
Headquartered in Ipswich, Massachusetts, StationSmarts offers an integrated records management solution designed exclusively for fire departments. Developed in accordance with a philosophy of collaboration and continuous improvement, StationSmarts routinely seeks feedback and encourages input from the fire services personnel who use the system every day. The operational needs of partner departments define the company’s developmental priorities. Every module of the software application aligns with NFPA standards, and improvements to the system benefit every department. For more information, please visit our website at www.stationsmarts.com.