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Friday, March 19, 2010

Featured Site: Decisions For Heroes

Decisions For Heroes is a statistics collation software, helping Search & Rescue teams record and analyze their rescue operations and training. There is nothing to download, however; users access the tool as a web application. Teams enter incident and training exercise reports into this online program, and it will then tell the team how to improve their responses. The software tracks team member qualifications, equipment, and training, and the use of these things against incidents.

The Decisions For Heroes software has a feedback system that allows users to leave improvement suggestions. Typical users include Mountain Rescue teams, the Coast Guard, Search & Rescue canine handlers, Sheriff departments, and urban Search & Rescue teams.

Users sign in after each incident or training exercise to enter their activity report. The software will then automatically add the data to the team's records and update their stats. Rescue teams pay a monthly or annual subscription to gain access to the service. The program was trialed for 8 months with 1,800 rescuers in 5 countries.

One team that uses the Decisions For Heroes program is Inland NW Search and Rescue. INSAR is a multi-disciplined search and rescue organization located in the Pacific northwest and based in Spokane, Washington. They provide ground, high angle, mountain, and water search and rescue support to the region, with twenty-six field-ready team members and fourteen individuals currently in training.

Part of their requirement to become field ready is to comply the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC 118.04.120) as it relates to search and rescue volunteers. INSAR has utilized the WAC guidelines to formulate a comprehensive set of requirements that their team members must complete and maintain in order to receive field ready status.

Joe Coates, the INSAR Training Officer, stated, “One of our greatest challenges was disseminating  information to our team members regarding training record status and notification of upcoming activities, as well as enhancing overall communication within our organization. Over the last year, we reviewed numerous database programs and internal web based solutions. We were not able to find one that completely fulfilled our requirements."

Until they found Decisions For Heroes, that is. Coates goes on to say, "Early in 2010, we discovered a corporation based in Ireland named Decisions for Heroes. They are a group of search and rescue professionals who developed an easy-to-implement but comprehensive, web-based solution. This has provided the leadership and team members within the INSAR organization with resources beyond our expectation. The database tracking of an individual’s qualifications, team calendar with auto notification of events, internal communication via e-mail, chat, and whiteboard along with extensive report generation and analysis has provided us with tools that will allow our organization to position itself for the future. Decisions for Heroes has been extremely responsive to questions as they have arisen and are very open to suggestions for future enhancement to their search and rescue solution.”

Information and a video regarding Decision for Heroes may be found at DecisionsForHeroes.com.

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