There wasn’t much that was too hip about the Spokane Valley Fire Department Web site.
“Monochromatic.” “Static.” “Out of date.”
One media outlet even dubbed it as “clunky.”
Joseph Yacker, systems analyst for the department, had heard it all.
But after nearly a year of work, a new-and-improved www.spokanevalleyfire.com was unveiled in late June. And in that time, recent run statistics and Flickr photos have replaced the old, tired look of the fire department’s Internet spot.
“There is a lot of new and dynamic content on this Web site,” Yacker told fire commissioners at their regular Monday meeting. “It will bring in users and keep them coming back.”
After hearing complaints about the old site, fire officials were determined to modernize its Web presence in a way that more positively reflected the community image of the department. By working with professional Web designers, improvements can immediately be seen by opening the home page that is updated regularly.
For example, the lead story currently on the site is the need for community residents to come up with preferred wording for a commemorative plaque that will be placed in conjunction with a 1,200-pound beam from the World Trade Center in New York City in the lobby of the under-construction new administration building near Station 8 at Wilbur and Montgomery. Community residents have until Aug. 2 to come up with 65 words or less expressing local sentiments regarding the Sept. 11 attacks and those, including emergency responders, who lost their lives that day.
Yacker said the refurbished site – especially the photo pages – have proven very popular. There are also sections for a public events calendar district maps and Web cams.
Media will be happy to find a rundown of recent department activity featured prominently on the homepage. Users simply have to click on the listed events in order to find out more information.
Visitors’ I.P. addresses have already been recorded from Europe, Asia, South America, India and Asia who have checked out the new look.
“It looks good,” said Commissioner Bill Anderson.
Chief Mike Thompson said it was important to note that all the updates and content for the site would be supplied in-house by the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
“We’re not relying on an outside host,” he said.