- fire safety /
- public safety /
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- Fire Analytics /
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Why Data Storytelling Holds the Key to Effective Public Policy As a data enthusiast, one of my favorite quotes comes from Edward Tufte, who famously r...
Setting yourself apart from every other grant applicant is getting more and more difficult. Especially in the fire service industry. While data and hard numbers go a long way to make your case, community data offers another, deeper lens into the lives we work every day to protect.
When we designed the Fire Performance Press Dashboard, we knew its capabilities needed to provide more than one value or use. At its core, it is a dynamic tracker made to share engaging stories around critical metrics with stakeholders and community members. The folks at Wauconda Fire Protection District (WFPD) knew their Board of Trustees was looking for a solution that provided transparency, consistency, and accuracy.
"We are providing services to a wide range of communities," said Deputy Chief Chas Buschick. In fact, WFPD provides fire, rescue, and ALS emergency medical transport services to more than 40,000 residents living across nine municipalities and several unincorporated areas in 44.5 square-miles around the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. "How we allocate resources is extremely important," he said.
But the tool also needed to make adoption as simple—and welcomed—as possible. Their Fire Performance Press Dashboard makes is easy for every staff member to access and understand the insights.
"In the past, we didn't have great reporting and when we did, it came out in a format that's just not visually pleasing with a lot of extra work," Chas told us. "When Jeff (WFPD Director, Jeff Steingart) brought it to us as a tool to share information and really evaluate what we're doing and where we're doing it, it was a good turning point to start looking at data to drive decisions operationally."
Easy visualization is definitely something we take pride in. Our ADA-compliant design enables any staff member to understand and draw insights from detailed information understand.
"This Dashboard is a platform that gives it all to us, and more. The demographics and all the extra insights and context that come along with it really gives a good picture." – Chas Buschick, Deputy Chief
Getting their team to use the data is a great step in moving beyond what some leaders fear might be seen as punitive. It probably helps to win more grants than ever before. As the tool's simplicity lends to speed, Director Jeff Steingart is able to submit grant applications that make huge differences for his team. Differences upwards of $1.2 million.
Applying for FEMA's SAFER grant was no daunting task with their Fire Performance Press Dashboard by their side. Jeff was able to navigate the lengthy federal grant and provide up-to-date and accurate information in his district's proposal. The award, which was granted in September 2021, was the funding they needed to hire three full-time firefighters. It's the kind of support that his district needs—and his community deserves—to continue providing quality services.
With more funding coming available, the time couldn't be better to start putting your Fire Performance Press Dashboard together. In a matter of weeks, you'll be able to start tracking your team's progress against a custom boundary and incident data to tell stories about the most effective ways you can help your community—and gain the support you need to get the work done.
Sara joined the mySidewalk team in 2019 to lead the design and implementation of the next generation of public safety products. Prior to joining mySidewalk, Sara worked at the Office of the State Fire Marshal, a state-level government agency dedicated to the protection of lives and property from fire, explosions, and natural- and human-made disasters.
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