The Big Picture - More Information Means More Responders
Our small towns have changed, and our call responder availability has declined
The vast majority of firefighters in the United States are part of departments made up primarily of call-responders. It's neighbors helping neighbors and it's a system that has worked well for two hundred years, but over the last few decades things have changed.
What used to be small, locally oriented farming communities have become bedroom suburbs of the nearby cities. We work further away and can't easily just drop what we're doing and pop over to the fire station every time the horn blows or the Minitor pager beeps. Many of our best people work too far away or in buildings made of steel and cannot receive the alert tones on their pagers. Even when the alert gets through, with a twenty minute drive to the station it simply doesn't make sense to leave work several times a week only to be turned back long before getting to the station. Most calls, after all, turn out to be minor incidents or false alarms that are handled long before members working out of town can get there.
Second Signal has been designed from the ground up with the experienced call-responder in mind. By providing all of the information needed by a call-responder to know when it makes sense to leave work and drive back to town for a serious incident, we're getting more of our experienced members back to town for for those calls.
Information is the key. Nobody can leave work several times a week for what turns out to be a non-emergency. On the other hand, I've never met a boss that won't encourage a call-responder to leave work and help his neighbors a few times a year for an actual structure fire. At Second Signal, we make sure to provide ALL of the information our members need to know the difference.