This month we had the pleasure of speaking with Chief Richard White, a 31-year veteran of the Natick Fire Department. Chief White has held the position of chief for the past 3 ½ years and says he still loves being a firefighter, as much today as he did his first day on the job. He treats everyone in his department like family, and is grateful to be able to provide such an important service in his home community.
Why did he become a firefighter? The chief admitted he’s not really sure. Perhaps it’s because he has always liked the idea of helping people. Or it could have stemmed from a childhood experience he had when a damaging fire nearly destroyed the two-family home where he lived with his grandparents. Either way, he found his true calling, for sure! Second to his wife, he claims firefighting as the love of his life.
Chief White explains:
“Unless you’ve lived as a firefighter, it’s hard to understand this profession. My company and I share all types of experiences; some are great and others are terrible. We are forever connected by our common work.”
Learning About StationSmarts
The chief initially heard about StationSmarts in 2016 through his fire inspector, Tanya Quigley-Boylan, who had attended a product demonstration with StationSmarts founders, Dave Rocco and Greg Pica at a monthly fire prevention meeting. Soon after that, one of Natick’s deputy chiefs viewed the product at another live demonstration. The chief had been looking for a software product that would allow for simple data retrieval, that everyone in his department could learn to use quickly. After hearing rave reviews about StationSmarts from his two employees, a quick phone call brought Dave out to meet with the team. it didn’t take long before the chief tested it in the field and decided it was the right system for his department.
One of the challenges that Natick and many other departments face is budgeting for the necessary hardware on which to run a records management platform. Because StationSmarts functions as an on-the-go system, all department data is easily accessed via iPads or tablets, as well as on mobile phones and desktops. Chief White took advantage of the EMPG grant for his initial tablet device order. He looks forward to acquiring an iPad for every apparatus in the near future. That will add up to four engines, one ladder and a deputy’s car.
Currently, Natick Fire Department has been focused almost exclusively on the Pre-Fire Planning module. The chief believes his whole team recognizes the benefits of being able to capture and retrieve property data at any point in time, whether back at the station or on the way to an event. One early Sunday morning, not long ago, Natick firefighters were called to a commercial property in town. It just so happened that firefighters had performed a Pre-Fire inspection there the week prior, allowing the company to access all the information they needed on their tablets upon arrival at the scene.
What will be the next phase in Natick’s StationSmarts evolution? Chief White says he’s excited to begin using the Inspections and Permitting module, specifically targeting 26F inspections for single family and two-family homes. He wants in-service inspections to mean something and benefit everyone in the department.
Thank you, Chief White, for sharing your department’s real-life experiences with StationSmarts. We look forward to continuing to support Natick Fire Department’s data management requirements well into the future.
Learn more about StationSmarts by attending one of our upcoming live demos. Contact Dave Rocco to reserve your seat.