Administrative Hack

Fire Department Cyber Security Basics

The City of Riverside, OH Fire Department was hit twice in Spring 2018 with cyberattacks that wiped out department data. Pawtucket, RI Fire Department computers were hacked in June 2019, interfering with dispatch and potentially compromising data. Smaller government entities, often less protected and just as valuable, are increasingly becoming targets of cyber attacks. That means fire departments must think about cyber security. Here are the basics elements to know to better protect your fire department today. 

Free Online Fire Department Resource (VFIS)

Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services, Inc., better known as VFIS, recently activated a new one-stop-shop online resource for fire departments - ResponderHelp. Free of charge, VFIS has consolidated a vast library of resources, ranging from sample standard operating guidelines (SOGs), technical bulletins by industry experts, checklists, informational flyers, and articles/research papers on a variety of fire service topics.

Fire Department Exit Survey

The departure of a firefighter provides an often missed opportunity for valuable data collection. Through conducting exit surveys with each departure, both career and volunteer fire departments gain a final opportunity to receive critical insight about how firefighters perceived their experience with the department. Here is how to get an exit survey started in your fire department.

Internal Firefighter Survey (4 Ways)

Firefighters love to complain, providing fire department decision makers with plenty of anecdotal information. But how can we implement a new standard operating procedure or make major changes to personnel programs while lacking concrete, defendable data? We often operate in a silo about our own fire department when we make decisions with lasting impact. To better understand your department, use a survey to collect credible data.

Fire Department Social Media Resources

It’s critical that if your fire department is going to have a social media presence, accounts are active and maintain a steady stream of content. You can’t just post during fundraising events or to garner support for the Town budget vote. Here are some great resources for social media content that you can use on your fire department social media accounts.

Fire Department Ultimate Frisbee

Our volunteer department started playing pickup ultimate Frisbee one Saturday per month from May to October. We create a schedule at our April meeting, post it on the bulletin board in our meeting room, and email it out to all the members. There are a few ultimate Frisbee fans on the department who had been meeting up behind the firehouse randomly a few times per month for a pickup game. We proposed making it a formal activity for the department two years ago and it’s been a success.

Power of Food in the Fire Service

“Communication breakdown” is cited in almost every after action report. Internal department politics and poor mutual aid relationships are problems that plague every fire station in the country at some point. If only there was a solution… Well, that is where the power of food comes in.

Agendas for the Fire Service

“Time is zero-sum. Every minute spent in a wasteful meeting eats into time for solo work that’s equally essential.” Banning meetings from your department is not an option, as tempting as that may sound. Collaboration is critical in our team-oriented environment. Let’s review what you can do to maximize your fellow firefighters time in department meetings.

Fire Department Drill Calendar/Schedule

Fire Department Drill Calendar/Schedule

Time is too valuable to be wasted. Fire departments must maximize the limited use of time we have our firefighters together, especially as we continue to do more, with less. If your fire department hasn’t already done so, you must arrange an organized, consistent, and well-thought out training program. Use a drill calendar or schedule to get started.