Fighting fires in Mahwah? There’s an App for that.
And, according to Co. 4 Fire Battalion Chief Chris Konash, who designed it and started implementing it earlier this year, “Codes” is helping the township fire department fight fires more effectively.
Company 4 fire officials are able to access the App on the go thanks to the donations made at a pancake breakfast held at the Chili’s in Ramsey last year.
“We made enough at that fundraiser to buy two iPads for our trucks,” Konash said. After purchasing the tablets in February, Konash got to work, outfitting them with Codes.
The App, he said, is mainly a database that digitizes and centralizes FD information – forms, incident reports, rosters, personnel records, training reports, equipment logs and other “paperwork” elements of the department are now all online.
It also features detailed mapping, so while riding to a call, firefighters can pull up routes to a destination, and a complete hydrant map that identifies where every fire hydrant in the township is located.
The most effective component of the App, Konash said, is its “preplan” database, which lists every structure in Mahwah, and information firefighters need to know, like where its utility switches are located, floor plans, if there are any hazardous materials inside, if there are any potentially dangerous building conditions, and even whether or not there is a bed-ridden or other high-risk person inside the building. Codes also has photos of each building from all four sides, so firefighters can consider the best access point while on the way to a fire, he said.
Konash has been entering all of the preplan information manually for every building in town. So far, he has logged all of its commercial spaces, and said he is working toward having every residence in Mahwah logged as well.
“Accessibility to the information is key,” he said. “We are dedicated to spending our fundraising money on equipment that makes our jobs easier and safer. There are so many benefits to the iPad – it’s small, light, portable. Using them in our trucks has been a huge help.”
Since May, Co. 4 has used Codes on the iPad to help respond to and log 417 fire calls.
So far, Co. 4, which primarily services the Fardale section of the township, is the only one of the five FD companies in Mahwah that has outfitted its trucks with iPads. But, the others have access to the Codes program via a PC-based version that has been installed at all of the firehouses.
“We try to be as cost effective as possible,” Konash said. “So, if Company 4 can be the trial with it and test it out, and then we roll it out to the other companies, I think the town will be better off.”