October 30, 2018

Digital signage helps firefighters save lives

Originally posted on www.digitalsignagetoday.com on  | by Bradley Cooper


 

Digital signage isn't just for advertisements; it can also supply lifesaving information. One example of this is the FireRescueTV platform, designed specifically for firefighters. Martin Grube, executive producer of FireRescueTV, created the platform to help firefighters train, get information on fires in progress and relax with entertaining content.

Digital Signage Today spoke with Grube to learn more about this platform.

Q. What kind of content does FireRescueTV offer?

A. I was a firefighter for over 35 years. My vision was to provide on-duty firefighters an easy-to-access library of training videos and provide a 24-hour loop of entertaining content catering to firefighters. Content such as fire house cooking, fire history, new firefighting equipment and new fire apparatus are just a few videos broadcast on the FRTV screen. Training videos created by firefighters out in the field are also added to the library along with FEMA, and other government first responder videos buried on the web are now easily accessed on the FRTV system.

Q. What is the primary benefit for fire stations?

A. There is a tremendous amount of information that is relayed to fire stations daily through emails, phone calls and paperwork. However, fire officers must log in, read each email, print and then post or verbally tell members of pertinent news. This information is fluid and constantly changing, and because firefighters work 24 hours a day, this information must be updated quickly. FireRescueTV allows the fire officers to send messages to one or all their fire stations in seconds. The data is updated on the screen and the information and meeting reminders rotate every 90 seconds.

Firefighters are required to perform a mandatory one-hour daily drill while on duty. Training never ends in the fire station, and many times, the shift begins with a morning muster and quick drill or safety talk over coffee. FRTV offers a complete library of over 300 content-based video drills on demand. Topics such as safety, EMT, HazMat are some of the categories. They simply use the provided touchpad (mouse) to access these drills that are streamed from the FRTV server. These drills are changed often to keep the content fresh.

FireRescueTV has partnered with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration weather and the local weather for that client's zip code is displayed on the their FRTV screen every 15 minutes.

FireRescueTV has a working relationship with first responder news agencies and over 150 freelance news reporters and photographers who send in breaking news to FRTV. This news is fact checked and then placed on the FireRescueTV exclusive news crawl on the bottom of the FRTV screen.

Every fire station has a U.S. flag pole. Therefore, FRTV has placed a U.S. flag status widget on the bottom position of the screen to provide firefighters the proper flag status; full staff or half staff for the day.

Q. Do you provide a CMS for the fire stations?

A. FireRescueTV allows the fire officers full access to the message portion of the FRTV screen where critical station data and events are posted. Street closures, broken fire hydrants, upcoming training sessions can all be posted by the fire chief via a web portal or by using the free FRTV app.

The firefighters in the station have full access to the video library of training videos and new equipment product videos. The client does not have any control over the software other than posting messages. However, if they produce their own video content and want to share it with other firefighters, they send it to FRTV and we add it to the library and recognize the department for their submission.

Q. What type of displays do you use?

A. FireRescueTV has an account with a national electronics retailer and we order a 43-inch display nearest the new client location and they handle the delivery and drop off. This reduces the expense of storage of displays and shipping costs. We just ship the media player to the address. It is a plug and play system.

Q.How does the platform improve staff morale or help improve response times?

A. FireRescueTV allows volunteer firefighters to have easy access to content-based training every time they stop into their fire station. They do not have to drive to sit in a classroom for lecture. It is always available to fit their time schedules. They city career firefighters who are on duty for a 20-hour period can also obtain the lecture portion of training in their station, on duty and still available for calls in their area. This saves time and money.

Our software will also allow for the 911 CAD from their area to be fed onto the FRTV screen. It provides the firefighters the address to the calls as they are dispatched to.

Our software upgrade now will allow firefighters to post up to five JPEG images on the screen such as fires that they responded to, new truck photos or department history photos. This will greatly improve staff morale.

Q. What is the cost of FireRescueTV?

A. For $1,495, the fire station is shipped a media player with a 12-hour loop of content, a 43-inch display, an HDMI cable and a touchpad to access the video content on-demand. The screen comes with a stand mount or is hung on the wall by a team of two strong firefighters. The monthly service fee is only $19. Grube knows fire department budgets are limited and wanted to keep the monthly service very low and affordable.

The secondary revenue stream is from advertising. With the decline in print over the past decade, firefighters do not get fire related magazines to the station. Many magazines are going digital and firefighters have a vast amount of time between calls at the station. Fire equipment manufacturers and service providers are looking or ways to reach this multi-billion-dollar vertical market. FRTV offers these sponsors free production costs to develop their 60-second commercial that is broadcast every hour in every screen. Only fire related commercials are on the FRTV screens.