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IAFC at 140: Taking Our Bite at the Apple

Return to the February 15, 2013 issue of On Scene

Even those of us who are Team Android or pro-PC need to give credit where credit is due: nothing says new organizational model like Apple.

Apple effortlessly and flawlessly evolves its business model, but never veers from the brand and much-adored culture. From the Mac to the iPad, the organization has revolutionized virtually every aspect of our lives: how we work, play, communicate, create and think.

Once upon a time, Apple played a major role in the IAFC’s technology transformation—and maybe we helped inspire them as well.

In 1986, Apple Computers and the IAFC entered into an agreement to conduct a pilot information-exchange program and the ICHIEFS (International Computer Hardware Information Exchange Fire System) program was born.

Apple furnished the IAFC with seven Macintosh computers and Firelink software that enabled faster and more reliable information sharing, educational-material distribution and member connection. The IAFC tied the new technology to support a management information center and worked with Apple to host a high-tech fire service workshop in 1988.

“Information is power,” said Chief Ronny Coleman, then-IAFC president. “We desperately need the ability to react on a real-time basis to the issues that impact our [staff], our authority and our ability to get the job done. But I think we have a solution now.”

The robust program redefined the IAFC’s communication capability again 10 years later when the IAFC launched its first website, migrating the ICHIEF program (previously requiring software) to the internet.

In 1998, the ICHIEFS program disbanded as the website continued to evolve, but the positive impact it had on the IAFC service and brand is long lasting.

Ann Davison, CAE, is the IAFC's strategic information manager.

Contribute your stories, photos and memories to this project throughout this year: Visit the IAFC's ShareYourStory webpage.

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