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iPads Helping Mahwah FD Fight Fires

The fire department used donations from a pancake breakfast last year to purchase two iPads that feature a custom App that makes firefighting in Mahwah 'more effective and safer,' battalion chief says

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.”

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Leaking Ink December 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Can't wait for the rest of the Fire Companies to get the same. I want to personally thank Battalion Chief Chris Konash for all the time, effort, and know-how he put into getting this program up and running. Great job!
Steven Sbarra December 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Excellent idea and great job Chris. This type of innovated thinking is what makes our volunteers in Mahwah special.
Jonathan N. Marcus December 11, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Awesome to see such innovation put into real world application. This technology can literally save lives and property. It is wonderful to see that it was brought about as a direct result of the ingenuity of our volunteers and the financial support of our residents. :-)
JP December 12, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Wanted to find out more about this software but I don't see this app "Codes" resident in the AppStore. Is that the proper name for it? Did you guys jailbreak your iPads and load it with Cydia instead of going through Apple?
Just one for the few December 12, 2012 at 07:46 PM
It is a homegrown database utilizing Filemaker Pro and is accessed using Filemaker Go for the iPad, iPhone and are licensed to run Filemaker on a Windows PC.

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