Published February 18, 2014
Volume 22, Number 2

DNI Improves Fire & Ambulance Performance
Definitive Networks Inc
DNI staff work with fire departments and ambulance companies to keep emergency systems online

By Zoe Francis

Fire and ambulance responses are getting better every day, thanks to the technology offered by Definitive Networks, Inc.
Definitive Networks, or DNI, offers information technology (IT) support to fire departments and ambulance companies throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
“We’re a network engineering company that focuses primarily on providing support to fire department and ambulance companies,” Dave Parnell, chief operating officer, explained. “Those agencies outsource their IT infrastructure to us. We provide the equipment and the connectivity in order for the first responders to be able to do their jobs.”
The benefit for a city fire department or an ambulance company is that they do not need to hire IT professionals or buy the expensive equipment needed to support the latest technology.
“We have two very powerful hosting centers where much of this equipment resides,” Parnell said. “Instead of taxpayer dollars being spent on routers and switches and black boxes, we buy them and they essentially rent (it) from us. My team provides (24-hour) support to firefighters and medics out in the field whenever they need it.”
DNI currently serves 10 fire agencies and ambulance companies. Each new customer gets a tailor-made package based on their specific needs.
“We run a buffet,” Parnell said. “People pick and choose what they need for their particular operations. If something isn’t broken, we don’t try to fix it. We have a base product or service offering, and then we customize it to the uniqueness of that agency.”
Beyond offering expert IT support to emergency workers in the field, DNI analyzes the data they collect to constantly improve emergency services.
“We create software applications that help track the effectiveness of treatments used by medics in the field and enable government agencies to be able to adjust those treatments to get a better results,” Parnell said. “We capture the information for all emergency responses and forward reports to oversight agencies. Those people use that data to determine what drugs to use, what to do differently to make sure people are safe and sound and healthy as they can be.”
DNI is working with the Alameda County Regional Emergency Communication Center to provide real-time connection between dispatchers, ambulances and fire trucks with wireless communications.
“That information includes the best route to a particular scene, information about the building structure or key information that has been reported on the 911 call that the responders need to prepare for the situation,” Parnell explained. “We are essentially geeks on steroids, focused on trying to do some good in the community.”
Ryan Lecomte, the CEO and a nationally recognized expert in network engineering who’s advised fire agencies since the mid 1990s, founded the company 15 years ago.
“As he worked with those agencies, he saw that there was a big gap in their use of technology and built a company to address it,” Parnell said.
DNI is eager to expand to other fire departments and ambulance companies, confident their services will ultimately save the customer money and time while improving performance.
“We’re just refining our product base now,” Parnell said. “We’re growing at 45 percent and expect to continue to do so for many years to come. We’ve built a better widget.”
Learn more about DNI at dni.net.


Also in this issue...