Your city management loves technology. They believe that systems using the latest technology are the best, most cost-effective ways to provide services to the community. Your chief has charged you with integrating technology wherever possible: you must evaluate new tools, applications and software and make informed recommendations on whether to adopt them or not.
Today, fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems are integrating technology to reduce personnel demands, train members, improve emergency operations, reduce community risk, and change the way we respond to incidents. However, just because a new tool or application exists does not mean that your organization can benefit from it!
Integrating new technology into organizations requires careful analysis and evaluation. Your assessment should include:
- An examination of the problem that technology might help to solve.
- Identification of all possible solutions.
- A full evaluation of each solution to determine the best fit.
- Implementation considerations.
- An evaluation of maintenance requirements, including software updates.
- A recommendation to purchase or not purchase.
Use a grading rubric to assess technology purchases
To help you evaluate technology purchases, consider using a grading rubric like the one below. A rubric makes assessing the appropriateness of technology easier and provides a basis for further evaluation.
Sample grading rubric for assessing new tools or technologies
Consider the characteristics below when assessing new technology and its impact on your organization. Score each characteristic on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).
|Characteristic||Questions to consider||Score|
Total the scores in the right (last) column.
|12 or lower||May not be an appropriate solution.|
|13 - 16||May be an acceptable solution. Additional research is needed.|
|17 - 21||Likely is an acceptable solution.|
|22 - 25||Likely fills a critical need in the organization.|
Action step to find out more about fire/EMS technology
Consider applying for these National Fire Academy courses to learn more about the role of technology in fire and EMS:
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: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times