STORM LAKE, Iowa (KCAU) — The Storm Lake Fire Department is rolling out a new program to keep the community safe in the case of fire.

Community Connect is a free platform that allows residents to share information about their households that will aid first responders in responding to emergencies. Fire Chief Glenn Schlesser said often victims of a fire are not thinking straight and the software will give firefighters access to this important information.

“We are always looking for ways to better serve the citizens in Storm Lake,” Schlesser explained.

The department has been working toward the Community Connect system for six months.

Information that residents can input into the program 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

As part of the program will include each firetruck carrying an iPad that will give firefighters access to the information the owner or resident has provided as well as an aeriel photo of the property. Only SLFD will have access to the data that is put into the software.

The program is not just limited to Storm Lake residents instead all residents who are served by the SLFD can use the program including Lakeside, Truesdale, and rural areas of Hayes, Washington and Grant townships.

The program also includes a Spanish translation feature. Residents and business owners can sign up for the program here.