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Riley County Home Page

Posted on: March 7, 2022

RCFD#1 Using New Technology for Emergency Response

photo of RCFD#1 fire truck applying water to a wildfire in Riley County

(RILEY COUNTY, KS - March 7, 2022) Riley County Fire District #1 (RCFD#1) is exploring new technology for incident responses by serving as a pilot test group for the new OpsCentral team software. This software brings several sources of information together as a quick reference tool for emergency responders. Maps, personnel and apparatus resources, weather conditions, and incident pre-plan documents become available in one dashboard.


“We’re always looking for ways to innovate and use new technologies to help us deliver the best fire and emergency response possible to Riley County,” said Deputy Chief John Martens. “We’re hoping OpsCentral will allow us to bring together time-sensitive information to support quick, informed decision making.”


The software pilot test started in February and will continue for the next several months. Riley County is not paying to participate in the test and is not obligated to purchase the platform. If the platform proves to be more useful than current solutions being used, the county has the option to pursue a contract in the future. 


“We’re excited to partner with OpsCentral and look forward to providing insight, user recommendations, and ultimately better on-scene tactical decisions,” said Martens. “Our department is staffed mainly by volunteers, and we want to serve them by providing the best resources available so they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently.”


With 15 Fire Stations strategically located across the County, and with 130 volunteer firefighters, RCFD#1 strives to provide the taxpayers with timely emergency response 24 hours a day. In 2021, RCFD#1 responded to a total of 753 calls for service. Rescue & Emergency Medical Services, which include auto accident responses,  were the most frequent incident type, representing almost 60% with 446 calls for service.  Fire-related calls were up approximately 13% last year, with a total of 167 calls in 2021.


“We are preparing staff for a potentially busy spring wildland fire season due to a combination of heavy vegetation fuel load and significant drought conditions,” said Martens. “Now is the time to remove any combustible materials, such as dried leaves, pine needles, and tall dead grasses away from buildings. This is especially important for rural residents. It’s also a good idea to clean gutters of dead leaves and debris and repair or replace any loose or missing roof shingles to prevent ember penetration from wildfires in the area.”


Find information about preparing a home for wildfires on the National Fire Protection Association Website at https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Preparing-homes-for-wildfire 


The mission of Riley County Fire District #1 is to provide superior fire protection, operational excellence, and professionalism through all areas of our organization. The department’s ability to meet this goal is heavily supported by everyday individuals who help by answering the call to aid neighbors in need through volunteerism, commitment, and dedication.


OpsCentral provides a dashboard of information that consolidates pre-plan documents, incident command worksheets, sensors, drones, and smart city technologies into an easy-to-use dashboard for emergency responders on scene. This information would typically be found in pre-plan documents, incident command worksheets, dry erase boards, and a variety of other sources. The software merges all of the data and information together along with guiding documents to give emergency responders quick access to the resources needed on-scene. 

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