Let’s face it, firefighters are not all that web savy…at least not all of us. The internet speaks in a language most firefighters didn’t take in school, unless of course you are Dave Iannone. Some firehouses and departments have been able to create a website from time to time that serves the needs of telling the public who they are via the internet without too much help. However, if you really want to show off your department and none of your firefighters went to college for web design then you need to check out the companies below. These website design companies were specifically created for the fire service. Most of them offer functionality that firefighters want to share on their websites and that visitors want to see. Some of them are free, but most cost money. However, this is one of those cases where the money spent is worth it. Don’t worry, none of them are going to break the bank. In my eyes, a great looking website that is updated frequently is well worth the expense and should be a priority for any fire department.
I give you the top ten firefighting design website solutions for the fire service:
10. Firehouse.com Firehouse Network – The Firehouse Network offers a free website for departments. The best attribute is that it is free, the worst is that it is on their site and there isn’t much functionality. This basic ability to have your departments information on the web should be taken advantage of even if you have your own site already or chose from one below. Cost: Free
9. Union Fire Web Design – Union Fire Web Design is offered exclusively for IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) locals. The pro is that not everyone can have a site. The con is that not everyone can have a site. This company is run by an IAFF firefighter and boasts a handful of sites. Not all of the sites look the same unlike many other template driven sites. Cost: hosting is 10 bucks a year, no design price listed.
8. Firefighter Nation – FirefighterNation.com is like the facebook or myspace of the fire service. They have a partner site for EMS (Jems Connect). The site can be used for individual firefighters or you can start your own page for your department. This site is FREE and the functionality is added to frequently. Firefighter Nation has been around for less than a year and boasts 35,000 members. It is very easy to network within the site. The site is a brainchild of Dave Iannone, one of the founders of Firehouse.com. Cost: Free
7. Fire Websites – FireWebsites.com offeres websites for the fire service and you have your choice of a standard template or a custom website for your department. The good thing about this is free graphics and your own look, the downside is trying to figure out the pricing on the pricing page. They include database options and documentation options. Cost: turnkey for 159.90
6. ProFirefighter.com – Profirefighter.com is another “Union” only web design company. The company is run by the Oregon State Professional Firefighters. The biggest benefit is the A+ support. If you have a problem someon actually calls you back and helps you out!!! The downside is that it is Union only. They have a template that everyone uses which makes the graphics very important in making your site stand out from the rest. They offer Content Management, Member Access, Message Boards, Classifieds, Online Voting, Email Broadcasting, etc. Cost: $395 setup fee and then $39.90 a month for the basic plan.
5. Union Centrics – Union Centrics is the same as Fire Centrics (#4) except that it is only offered to IAFF Affiliates. They offer a very professional looking template driven website for firefighters. The offer texting, content management system, member access, message boards, chat rooms, online voting, conten syndication (RSS), email broadcasting, ecommerce, etc. Cost: $745.40 for 12 months basic plan then $32.95/monthly or $395.40/yearly
4. Fire Centrics – Fire Centrics offers a very professional looking template driven website for firefighters. The offer texting, content management system, member access, message boards, chat rooms, online voting, conten syndication (RSS), email broadcasting, ecommerce, etc. Cost: $1495.40 for 12 months basic plan then $39.95 month.
3. FirehouseSolutions.com – FirehouseSolutions.com offers another well designed web templated design. The site offers online calendar, discussion forums, announcements, guestbook, e-alerts, email, etc. Cost: $795.00 start up fee and then $59.95 a month.
2. FireCompanies.com – FireCompanies.com offers a very well designed web template for your department. Their best attribute might be the graphics. They seem to be more in tune with volunteer departments, but they can be used for any department. They offer members area, a site redesign every two years, texting, online store, email, RSS, member profiles, and hall rental manager. Cost: $499.99 one time design fee and then $39.99 a month.
1. YourFirstDue.com – YourFirstDue.com has been on the scene for about 2 years now. Their sites continue to grow as people realize what a great deal this really is. The upside is the cost and functionality. The downside is the lack of graphic design. Some of the other great things about this managment solution is accepting online donations, banner ads, call history, call volume, ERG search, adding fire related news to the site, etc. Cost: $24.95 monthly, no setup fees or contracts.
There you have it. I must say that each of them have their ups and downs, but for your money YourFirstDue.com is the best by far and it is very easy to use. Many of the sites above offer the ability to go to their site and do a demo. I suggest you do this before jumping in feet first.
What do you think? Who do you use?