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Improving fire house communication: Methods of communicating

Fire house communication can be a difficult topic to cover. There are many aspects to it, including the method of communication, when and how to use specific methods, how to deliver information whether it is good or bad, tone of communication, and even timing.

If your local volunteer fire department is anything similar to volunteer organizations across the US, and even other countries, then you have most definitely come across issues with communicating with either your entire departments volunteers, individual station’s volunteers, or individuals.

Issues can come in many forms:

  • Didn’t receive the communication in a timely manner.
  • Didn’t receive the communication at all.
  • Conflict from the message.
  • Message was ignored/missed within the communication.

In many departments, the officers in charge commonly communicate either with email or with direct individual phone calls. While making phone calls are effective, they can be time-consuming when contacting a group of volunteers, even if your organization is small.

Emails will allow you to communicate with a group quicker, however many people either do not receive them by not checking their email, firewall/spam boxes, and email systems being down, or they don’t receive them when the information is pertinent, because they either didn’t check their email often enough, or only check their email a couple of times a week or month.

There are also certain matters that should be communicated in specific ways even if more difficult, rather than the easiest method.

 

Different methods and the pros and cons.

Email

Pros

  • Great way of keeping record of conversations that took place.
  • Quickly send information to a large group of people
  • Information is not limited to character counts, types of attached media, etc.

Cons

  • Large mailing lists associated with sending to all volunteers may not be up to date on all computer/users that send emails.
    • Can be difficult to maintain as well when people change email addresses, join the department, or leave the department.
  • Many people do not read their emails regularly.
  • Spam filters commonly prevent or filter delivery due to large amount of emails sent/or large number of recipients.

Phone Calls

Pros

  • Private
  • Information can be passed along quickly and sender knows it was received.
  • Questions can be answered quickly from both sides.

Cons

  • No tracking of conversations, unless recorded.

In Person

Pros

  • Can shows respect that you are willing to meet in person about the message/communication, dependent on delivery
  • Can show the importance of the message/communication, dependent on delivery

Cons

  • Takes time, sometimes significant time if the person is long-winded/bored.
  • No record, unless recorded.

SMS/MMS Messages

Pros

  • Offers quick communications
  • Most people carry their phones everywhere, including toilets and showers.
  • You can see previous conversations, unless deleted.

Cons

  • Can be limited to certain amount of characters per message
  • If sending to a large group, it may take a little while to compose the message.
  • Replies to MMS group message may not be seen by everyone who received it.
  • Can be difficult to see full conversations, except for on device.

GroupMe

Pros

  • Can quickly send messages without having to find/remember who all to include in the message.
  • Can see previous conversations
  • Can pull previous conversations from website version of app when needed.

Cons

  • Initial group must be created manually either on GroupMe’s website, or in the app.
  • Each member must be added via the app/website.
  • Can get annoying if someone starts working a conversation that is irrelevant to some group members

 

As you can see this list is small, and by far doesn’t cover them all. If you have suggestions, add them to the comments below. I will do my best to add them into the list. I will be posting more on improving fire house communication in the future, look out for it.

Brett

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New design up and running.

Today, I spent most of the day, at least the portion that I wasn’t running fire and medical calls, developing a new theme for my website. Personally I like my themes to be simplified and clean. I also like to integrate social media as much as possible, and while it is not quite integrated, it will be over the next few days/weeks.

Now I just need to focus on reworking and adding content to my site, to get it back up to snuff.

Let me know of what you think about the new design, and if you think I should add anything else.

Brett

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Welcome to my website

I have developed this website as a way for me to display myself, my work, my goals, my accomplishments, and anything else I decide to add to this website. This site will continue to be a work in progress, constantly changing as I learn more about web development and other fields that I am interested in.

A Little About Me:

I live in small town Madison, Georgia, where I am married, with three kids.

I am a web developer at Madison Studios. Currently my role is to develop websites from custom designs, sometimes in static HTML, but mostly on WordPress, as themes, and occasionally as themes for Magento, for ecommerce websites. I also custom code some systems in PHP, and occasionally write plugins for WordPress when need arises. For those who don’t know what any of this means. I develop the code that you normally don’t see that makes a website function.

I am also a volunteer firefighter with Morgan County Fire Rescue, where I respond to fires, accidents, and medical calls when my schedule allows me to. I have completed and obtained certifications in NPQ FF1 & FF2, as well as Emergency Medical Responder. I am fixing to also begin classes for EMT level training this week.

What do I plan to have in this blog?

I am not really sure to tell you the truth. I know there are a few things that I will add to it, just not sure what all it will contain. Some of the items I do plan on it having is…

  • Interesting articles, and information that I find
  • My goals, and accomplishments
  • Tools that others may find useful

One thing I can tell you is that sometimes blog entries will be frequent, and at others, there won’t be anything for quite some time.

Thanks for reading.

Brett

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