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Terre Haute, Indiana Fire Prevention

From paper nightmare to electronic efficiency

Norman Loudermilk, the Assistant Fire Chief of Terre Haute Fire Department knew after search nine months for a fire inspection; things needed to change.

Our entire operation was kept on paper, we had nine filing cabinets housing fire inspections based on the month they were completed. There was no backup, no data management and no checks and balances. It was poor record keeping at best. Furthermore, business owners could change business locations and we had no way to track previous violations; no way to track trends in their multiple locations or trends in a single structure after multiple businesses occupied it.

Nine months to find a previous inspection report

In one incident, we had a fire hazard reported at a business. It took nine months to find the previous inspection. We found that sometimes old inspections were thrown away. In addition, signatures of owners were not required on inspections, which left us to wonder in some cases if inspections were done.

This was unacceptable. We needed accountability and a better way to serve our community. I searched the web for software companies and quickly became overwhelmed. It felt like a large undertaking. While attending a NFPA Certification class in Lafayette, Indiana; I spoke with Fire Marshal, Brian Alkire about my frustration and he told me about Codepal. After several discussions and seeing their reports, I visited the Codepal website. I was ready to make a change, I just needed the right tools.

I met with Lafayette Fire Department and the Codepal sales staff. Lafayette’s department is a mirror of ours, so I was able to see the software used in a real environment, not a boxed demo. I liked the Lafayette set up, but felt the investigation piece was lacking. I was sold when I heard “Tell us what you want, and we’ll provide it” by Codepal sales staff. Why recreate the wheel, just make it better? We purchased a pre-designed Lafayette’s set up and worked with the Codepal staff to design an investigation piece that suited our needs. The collaboration between departments and the ability to share ideas on how to use the software has been a bonus.

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Codepal helped us get on the right track

We went from 3000 business inspections in nine filing cabinets to everything on the server available on 3 surface pros’. I have access to every inspection based on business or owner and I can see all the details of any given inspection. It’s cross referencing and easy to use. With Codepal, it’s like Terre Haute Fire, take two. We’re building what we want, the way we want it. We’re collecting signatures in the field electronically and emailing reports instantly. This was imperative to verify every inspection is done. Customers are happier, and it has increased our visibility in the community. We’re able to complete our tasks quicker and we’re inspecting every property. Our department went from an average of 2 inspections a day/ 710 businesses annually, to 16-20 inspections a day*. We are looking at adding a new inspector and have the evidence to back up the request.

We are approaching the one-year mark of using Codepal and reaching our first round of next annual inspections. I suspect these numbers will increase now that we have the initial inspections set.

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Codepal gave us a system with checks and balances and keeps us in line with the law. Our Investigation reports have been challenged in the court system and held up. Everything is in chronological order and stood up against scrutiny making convictions easier.

Codepal’s #1 selling point, outside the software, has been their support staff. From sales to support, the staff is outstanding. We’re able to call when we have any questions or changes. Laws change and processes change, Codepal is always able to help us make the necessary changes.

*based on an average day with no fire investigations

Norm Loudermilk – Assistant Chief

Terre Haute Fire Department Terre Haute, Indiana

Norm Loudermilk
Norm has been the assistant Fire Chief for 16 months. He has 11 years of experience with the Terre Haute Police Department, 17 years’ experience with the Fire Department and has served 20 years on the City Council.

Congratulations to the Fire Prevention Bureau on being named Fire Prevention Division of The Year for the State of Indiana by the Fire Inspectors Association of Indiana. The award was given at annual conference banquet in South Bend.

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Fire Marshal Hidalgo County Tx

Taking it to the next level: re-evaluating our processes.

The service from Codepal has been dependable and superb. It has made life easier for us. The Codepal staff makes themselves available to us.

Homero Garza Hidalgo County Fire Marshal 

Homero Garza was appointed to the Hidalgo Fire Marshal position March 7, 2016 and re-appointed January 23, 2018 for another two-year term. Previously he worked for a local hospital as a director of security and transportation and Environmental Risk Manager for eight years.

Upon accepting the position, one of Homero’s goals was to transition his office from paper inspections to the next level, using technology. “It was a challenge when looking for historical data or past inspections. It took extra resources.” Not just in the time to find what they were looking for, but the cost of the extra storage space. Storage space is limited and costly to store documents/inspections for numerous years.

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He began researching software and asking around about what other local companies were using. He just needed to get an idea of what was out there. One of the local fire departments uses Codepal and spoke to him about Codepal’s processes. “We were required to get 3 quotes, we requested a quote from Codepal. The biggest difference for us was the face to face interaction we received from Codepal.” Bob and Pam met with Homero about his needs and demonstrated the software.

The staff is always available to us

Later, “Codepal staff came in-person to work with my staff to assure the set up was exactly what we needed and came back to train us. The Codepal staff is available to us.”

“During analysis with the Codepal staff, the conversation turned to our evidence storage. Realizing the process needed an overhaul, we spoke with the Codepal rep about our concerns with our current process. They set up an evidence piece to meet our needs. It is important to keep evidence safe and accounted for and this is reliable. We re-organized the room and streamlined our evidence management. Accountability is key, and preservation of evidence is the biggest hurdle we overcame.” The entire process allowed the Fire Marshal staff to re-evaluate a lot of areas. They discovered documents being stored that auditors already store. “We have eliminated redundant processes.” This not only saves storage space but time. A fresh look at processes can be all it takes to quickly see where you can save resources.

“The whole experience has been great for us. Now we have history and reporting available at the click of a button. We no longer search through stored documents to find what we need.

If you would like to speak with Homero about his experience with Codepal, please email him at: [email protected]s

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New Mexico State Fire Marshal

New Mexico State Fire Marshal Success Story

The New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s office is building an accurate data record tracking database with historical value.

The New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s office knew their antiquated system for tracking and reporting on inspections needed an overhaul. There was no consistency in their reporting and it offered too much free reign to be adequate for the court cases.

They began their search for a software that would fit their needs and like many organizations, needed three competing bids. “Codepal came in to round out the three as a suggestion to fill the required number. We had another software in mind. However, once we saw Codepal’s abilities, we were sold. It is the software for us. It was important that whatever software company we went with, our data would not be held hostage.

Codepal president, Bob Lee explained that our data is ours and is always available to us, regardless of the situation. It was that assurance that sold us on the product. We worked with the staff to design a setup that fit our needs. They gave recommendations for hardware and worked with us to assure we had everything we needed.

Confidence in the ability to document for court proceedings

We now feel confident in our ability to hold up in a court of law with a seamless system that offers consistency and accurate data reporting. It has taken some time, about 3 months to get adapted and build out all of our special requests. We have many older codebooks we reference and have access to the years we needed within the software as well as the newest editions that we are working on adopting.’

Their main goal was to get all staff on the same page and in the right format, obtaining a solid structure that’s secure. Codepal is flexible and adaptable to their needs, keeping the form consistent and uniform for all users. ‘Tracking is so much easier and provides a history that we can reflect back to for years to come. Record tracking is complete with pictures and gives a real view of the property at the time. We’ve never had this ability. We have access on tablets in the field to build our reports while on-site or we can still use paper and return to the office to complete the reports. We’re not forced into one format or the other.’

Codepal isn’t just a software company, we work side by side with our clients to assure they have a positive customer experience. ‘The ongoing support has exceeded our expectations, the staff is available and responsive. We didn’t just purchase a packaged software, we feel like we’ve partnered with a company that is helpful and has our best interests in mind.’

New Mexico State Fire Marshal website

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