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InspiringBusiness - March 2014
InspiringBusiness, March 2014
Building Solutions for Fire Operations With N-FORS

We’re honored to have spent the last few months working with the team developing N-FORS, the National Fire Operations Reporting System. N-FORS is a FEMA-funded project that strives to create a standardized data set for fire service professionals using grassroots-level participation. The development and implementation of this data set ensures safety, accuracy, and optimization in fire operations. The project aims to reduce firefighter injuries and death, reduce civilian injury and death, and reduce property loss from structure fires. The system, intended as an evolution of existing data sets, will be created from the collaborative efforts of thousands of fire service professionals around the country.

The entire N-FORS project has three, year-long stages: defining the data set, defining metrics, and combining the two definition sets to create the standard reporting system. To support the second-year efforts, we built a web-based content management system that will act as a discussion tool for public comment, providing transparency in the process. We implemented an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface for administrators to use to manage the hierarchy of data elements. The system is also inherently collaborative, allowing members of the fire community to participate in the process and provide feedback about the proposed standard.

The data collected will support participating departments to help them justify resources they need and improve their ability to

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effectively fight structure fires. N-FORS measures real performance data instead of broad statistical analyses. Information will be aggregated across every agency that commits to using the N-FORS system, giving organizations the ability to see how their capabilities compare to similar organizations nationwide.

We joined other industry leaders at the N-FORS January 2014 Stakeholders' Meeting in Orlando, Florida to showcase our work and gather feedback. Others in attendance included Ernie Mitchell - FEMA/US Fire Administration, Brian Cummings - Former Los Angeles Fire Chief, and William Metcalf - President and Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

We are now excited to be working with the N-FORS team to plan for the third year of the project, which will be primarily focused on implementation of the new standard.

To learn more about the N-FORS project, visit n-fors.org

Optimizing Server-App Data Sync for the iPad

ePCR for iPad was built for fire, EMS, and other prehospital service providers to digitally complete patient care reports. The majority of ePCR software available on the market requires a full-time network connection with a server. When crews are called to remote locations, this model is not ideal, since network connectivity is not always an option.

ePCR for iPad allows users to work offline. When users enter information in the app, the data is retained locally on the device until an internet connection is detected. When a connection is present, our data synchronization tool, AppSync, syncs the data with our servers.

Some agencies have decided to save money by using a WiFi-enabled iPad instead of a cell-data-enabled model. Users enter data completely offline while on a call, eliminating the need for an internet connection while in the field. When the crew returns back to home base, all data is synced using the agency’s local wifi.

In addition to the ability to sync data that was entered offline, ePCR for iPad also provides optimized syncing to its customers.  


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We recently optimized data synchronization for ePCR for iPad to improve the app’s performance in two different areas. The first sync area we improved is the initial sync, where the app retrieves the data it needs to get a new user up and running. The second area is an incremental sync, where the app sends local changes and retrieves changes since the last sync from the server. These two distinct tasks allowed us two different opportunities for performance optimization.

The optimization happened through the use of data compression, tuning the frequency with which the data is exchanged, and exploring data formats that allow us to package and transfer data more efficiently. The changes have resulted in synchronization performance improvements of more than 10x, especially during the initial sync. The improvements give ePCR for iPad users access to any amount of data, large or small, just about as fast as it can be downloaded.

In order to complete reports in a timely and correct manner, EMTs, paramedics and firefighters require quick, efficient data entry. Thanks to a user interface we continue to enhance, reduced data entry times and the rapid synchronization speeds from our optimized app-to-server and server-to-app data sync processes, ePCR for iPad is an outstanding electronic patient care reporting solution.

ePCR for iPad - for education

Recent trends show the adoption of electronic records is on the rise in the medical world. EMS and firefighting students can gain a competitive advantage by learning to complete patient care reports electronically.

Using ePCR for iPad in an educational setting gives students the opportunity to complete patient care reports in ways they’re likely to encounter in the field. Instructors can customize the form, allowing students to focus on the most important details of the report. Fields can be renamed to fit a program’s vocabulary, and instructors can remove pages with unnecessary data or fields that do not apply.

iPads are becoming more commonplace in the classroom and are a valuable EMS and firefighting

instruction tool. ePCR for iPad allows students to easily complete ePCRs while learning about industry-standard data required for a PCR, including NEMSIS data. Current schools using ePCR for iPad love the ease of using the app to teach their students the correct way to complete a PCR. Jason Marquez, CEO of First Response Training Group says, “I think this program is awesome. I’m starting a new medic class this week with over 20 students using your app.”

Our education pricing plan keeps the software affordable for EMS and firefighting instruction programs. Please contact us for pricing information.

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