Fire-EMS Innovation Public Safety

Sugar Land Fire Department uses new technology to increase communication across stations

The Sugar Land Fire Department is using new technology to increase communication across stations and the city.

First Arriving, an interactive dashboard has been installed in each of the city’s seven stations, plus an administration building, across the city. The dashboard, which is presented on a dedicated screen at each fire station, drops real-time call and location data when someone solicits the fire department. In addition to call information and data, stations are able to communicate with each other and send specific updates about upcoming trainings, meetings and other information.

Innovation Manager Rachel Owens said this increase in communication between stations is a real perk for efficiency in the fire department.

“First Arriving has the potential to connect each fire station like never before,” Owens said. “This new technology gives them the tools to give updates to the whole fire department and be able to use any data they get from the dashboard in real time, if needed.”

The dashboard does several things. Fire crews are able to see call information come in in real time, including a map and address of where the call is coming from. Crews are then able to view the area before they leave the station to better serve residents once they get to the call location.

Aside from call information, crews can also see a department-wide calendar of training and events for the entire fire department, pictures of recent events, and information pushed out to crews from the fire chief directly.

Interim Fire Public Outreach Coordinator Scott Bowerman saw using First Arriving as an opportunity create more of a community amongst firefighters on shift.

“The integration of Active 911 (the call data) is a big innovation. We saw other fire departments using it to great success and it’s worked out really well here too,” Bowerman said. “Previously, information was primarily delivered to our crews through email and online update meetings. However, with the new system, we have a direct line of communication with the stations, allowing us to provide timely updates to our crews. This has improved our ability to keep everyone informed and on the same page.”

Owens said this is just one example of how a city department can use technology to innovate their processes and increase efficiencies in their space.

“This type of innovation shows the public that it’s possible to use technology in new and exciting ways,” Owens said. “I’m looking forward to seeing other departments follow in Fire’s footsteps and implement similar innovations in their areas.”

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