The Storm Lake Fire Department has launched a Community Connect program, a new online tool to help keep the community safe.
Storm Lake residents and business owners can log onto the new service at www.communityconnect.io/info/ia-stormlake, and create an account for free. Then they will be able to enter their home and contact information, which will help the SLFD to assist as effectively as possible in an emergency response.
“We are always looking for ways to better serve the citizens in Storm Lake,” Fire Chief Glenn Schlesser explains. “Community Connect is a free, secure, and easy to use platform that allows you to share critical information about your household that will aid first responders and emergency response personnel when responding. By providing information about your household that you feel is important for us to know about at the time of an emergency, we can ensure you and everything you care about is protected to the best of our ability.”
Key information you can help the fire department to access includes:
- Residence or business layout
- Who to contact in case of emergency
- How many occupants to expect in a home
- Whether any residents have disabilities or mobility issues, or speaks another language
- Where bedrooms for children or elderly residents are located
- Any hazards in a building such as medical oxygen tanks or above-ground fuel tanks
- Any pets that firefighters should search for
- Where occupants plan to gather in an evacuation
- Where gas and electric shutoffs are located
- Where the nearest fire hydrant is located
Residents can provide as little or as much information as they wish. The site is secure, and only the SLFD will have access to your information.
“Every rig the fire department runs has an iPad. While firefighters are responding, they will be able to access an aerial photo of the property and the information that the owner or resident has provided, on the fly. Often when there is a fire people may not be thinking clearly, and having that critical information going in can save precious time and losses,” Chief Schlesser says.
For example, a business can share a location of a key box, or homeowners can report if a neighbor may have a key, so firefighters can avoid damaging doors or windows if possible in an emergency response.
Residents can even submit photos of their pets or livestock. “We know how important pets are to people, and we look to go into an emergency to preserve every life, human or animal,” Chief Schlesser notes.
The Community Connect system can be used by residents of the entire area that the SLFD serves – including Storm Lake, Lakeside, Truesdale, and rural areas of Hayes, Washington and Grant townships. The online site includes a Spanish translation feature.
The department had been working toward the new Community Connect system for the past six months.
To view a video on how Community Connect works, see www.communityconnect.io/info/ia-stormlake or www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HUT9p7tw9U&t=57s
Photo: Fire Chief Glenn Schlesser shows the Storm Lake Community Connect website that was introduced Dec. 29, 2022.