Your Guide to Fire Department Preplan Software

Apr 12, 2022
7 min read
By: Lucy Bragg

How can fire departments better respond to emergencies? With digital pre-plan software. From risk assessment, to disaster preparedness, to medical response, first responders can use this tool to maximize public safety. Read ahead to find out how.

Improving Public Safety with Accurate Pre Plans

Keeping communities safe not only requires skill and courage, but also a great amount of strategy and preparation. Fire prevention and fire suppression teams must be prepared for any situation they may encounter. That is why fire pre-planning is an important part of firefighting. Staying up-to-date with property floor plans, fire hydrant locations, and other key structural information is extremely important.

However, fire departments don’t always have access to updated pre-plans. Buildings consistently undergo renovations, expansions, and additional changes that are difficult to keep up with. As a result, fire pre-plans often contain outdated information that render them useless. This means first responders are going in blind; not knowing what to expect or how to efficiently navigate a building. Not only does this pose a risk to themselves, but to everyone involved. 

What is Fire Department Pre Plan Software?

It’s easy to miss the mark with traditional paper floor plans. Firefighters have to flip through binders and stacks of paperwork to locate pre-plans, which can take up a lot of unnecessary time. They’re also easy to misplace, difficult to maintain, and clunky to transport. 

Going digital with fire pre-plan software eliminates the issues involved with paper plans. With the click of a button, fire departments can quickly access the plans they’re looking for, streamline the collaboration and approval process, and cross-reference other crucial documents on-the-go. Digital pre-plan software also makes updating documents faster and simpler, ensuring that fire departments always have the most up-to-date building information at their fingertips. 

How Digital Maps Help with Pre Incident Planning

With the ability to access digital site plans en route to a call, fire prevention and fire suppression teams can efficiently plan the best way to respond. They can quickly familiarize themselves with the building layout including access points, hydrants and water sources, safety equipment, hazardous materials, and possible barriers; and plan rescue operations accordingly. 

Digital pre-plan software helps firefighters navigate a scene more quickly, locate the most efficient way in and out of a building, and can provide alternative routes if an entrance or stairwell is blocked off or barricaded. Fire incident planning is easier, faster, and most importantly, safer. 

Mappedin Response

Mappedin Response automatically digitizes paper-based floor-plans, enabling fire departments to create, annotate, and view accurate indoor pre-plans in real-time. With this digital solution, responding firefighters can easily maintain and access the most up-to-date version of every building floor plan within their response area, maximizing indoor spatial and situational awareness.

Create Digital Pre Plans

Fire departments can take blueprints or raster floor plans in DXF, PNG, and JPEG formats and automatically digitize them into simplified, standardized site plans through the Mappedin platform. Automating the conversion of paper-based floor plans into a digitized format enables easy access to fire pre-plans from one central location anytime and anywhere. 

Annotate Fire Pre Plans

Once the floor plans are digitized, first responders can add and edit symbols and annotations to better enhance situational awareness. Mappedin Response gives fire departments the ability to utilize their own list of symbols, or use our standard list from the NFPA. Symbols include access features, fire ratings, hazards, utility shutoffs, general systems, equipment rooms and more. 

Fire prevention and fire suppression teams can turn off different layers of symbols to locate specific details on the floor plan such as water connections. With area annotations, specific rooms can be drawn and labeled to indicate the location of individuals in danger, for example. Images, text boxes, and notes can also be added for additional context. Fire departments have complete flexibility over what information to include. 

Respond Using Accurate Pre Plans

Firefighters can then use the accurate pre-plans to gain better spatial awareness of a building in advance of arriving at an emergency call. The information they need can be easily accessed on-the-go from any tablet or PC, making it easy to consolidate an effective pre-incident plan. 

To supplement the visual floor plans, firefighters can pull up the building profile to learn more about the site. The fields are editable and include detailed information on the building name and address, building type, lot entrance, primary building access, external FDCs, closest hydrant, lockbox number, resources and more. 

Benefits of Fire Pre Plan Software

  • Responsive Design: Mappedin Response is optimized for desktop and tablet, enabling firefighters to upload floor plans, add symbols, and view fire pre-plans from either device type.

  • Automated Digitization: Fire departments can upload paper-based pre-plans in DXF, PNG, and JPEG formats to automatically digitize them into editable, digital assets. 

  • Collaborative Editing: Fire departments can experience increased efficiency by collaborating on property pre-plans in one centralized tool. 

  • Customized Symbols: Firefighters can use default symbols or a customized list, as well as add, adjust, and delete walls, connection points, text annotations, images, and more. 

  • Multi-Floor Toggle: First responders can upload and view specific floors of each building and the multi-floor toggle makes switching between levels simple.

  • Accessible On-the-Go: With its responsive design, first responders can use Mappedin Response from tablets on-site, either to adjust symbols and connection points, or view the recently updated pre-plans. 

Additional Use Cases for an Emergency Response Map

Along with simplifying emergency preparedness, a digital pre-plan is an effective solution for disaster management, risk assessment, and more. Like firefighters, police and law enforcement as well as paramedics and EMTs can benefit from pre-planning software to increase public safety. Let’s delve into this next.

Disaster Management

It’s already difficult navigating an unfamiliar building, but to do so during a fire or disaster? Now that’s hard. To effectively prepare for and respond to disasters, first responders must create pre-plans that are accurate and up-to-date. With visual location information on hand, response teams can evaluate emergency preparedness, emergency route planning, and reduce reaction times

This tool helps first responders understand what they’re working with. They’re able to assess potential risks and hazards on site, locate people and personnel in danger, and ultimately outline the best way to respond. With spatial and situational awareness, they can avoid dangerous areas and figure out the quickest and safest way out of a building. Since every second counts during an emergency, being able to respond quickly is critical in avoiding damage and injuries.

Police and Law Enforcement

Digital pre-planning software makes it easy for police and law enforcement to familiarize themselves with buildings throughout a city district. In the event of an emergency, they can quickly pull up the site layout before arriving at the scene. This enables them to visualize entrances and exits, fire alarms, first aid kits, and all the information they need to effectively respond. 

For instance, en route to a scene, they can identify rooms they need to proceed through with caution and potential bottlenecks that could impede rescue operations. With the ability to edit digital site plans, they can also take note of collapsed structures or areas containing toxic chemicals. Emergency teams can collaborate to ensure complete accuracy, and distribute the updated plan with other departments on-the-go. 

Paramedics and EMTs

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are constantly responding to emergency calls, performing medical services, and transporting patients to hospitals or other medical facilities. When called to the scene of an accident or emergency medical situation, they must quickly provide emergency care to those in need. 

When lives are on the line, accessing the right information at the right time is critical. Digital pre-planning software ensures that EMTs and paramedics can pull up floor plans at a moment’s notice to help them work more efficiently during an emergency call. They can swiftly locate individuals that are hurt, safeguard against exposure to hazardous substances on site, and evacuate quickly. Pre-plans give first responders maximum indoor spatial awareness when it matters most.

How to Implement Fire Department Pre Plan Software Across Your City

Make the switch to digital fire pre-planning software to improve operations and create safer communities. With building information in one central location, firefighters and first responders can access what they need, when they need it. 

Contact us to learn more about Mappedin Response and how it can benefit your emergency response department.