Essential Firefighter Gear: Why Firefighting Teams Need Rugged Laptops

Fighting fires is a dangerous business, where mere seconds can mean the difference between saving lives and property or untold disaster. The right firefighter gear, such as rugged laptops, has now become as necessary as water hoses, oxygen masks and protective clothing.

A recent survey of fire rescue professionals revealed a growing demand among firefighters for enhanced information and technology to improve firefighting efficiency and effectiveness. Fifty-five percent of surveyed fire and rescue personnel said having access to real-time information team and personnel locations, geographic information, and live visuals from the location of the incident are priorities that would help toward better fire response.

In many cases, access to this critical information comes from a laptop or tablet. An overwhelming 85% of respondents in that same survey indicated that rugged computers — not consumer-grade equipment — are essential to doing their jobs. The laptop is not just another piece of equipment: it’s a lifeline.

Rugged Computers are Essential to Firefighting

Rugged laptops and tablets provide reliable access to essential data, helping teams to make informed decisions in the figurative and literal heat of the moment.

Reliable technology provides firefighters with a myriad of resources. Imagine, for example, being able to predict a wind shift and how it might affect a wildfire’s direction or accessing a database to identify hazardous materials in a building. Other examples include viewing building schematics that help locate electrical, HVAC, plumbing and other infrastructure that are not visible to the naked eye. Access to that information while on site is the power the right laptop brings to the table.

Whether it’s a change in strategy or an unexpected hazard, laptops ensure that everyone gets the information they need immediately. When faced with extreme temperatures, vibrations, shocks, and weather, not just any professional laptop can make the cut. Gear for firefighters must be reliable and rugged enough for the job.

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® Firefighter Solutions — the Best Laptop for Firefighters

For those in search of the perfect gear for firefighters, Panasonic TOUGHBOOK is a game-changer. Built with your job in mind, TOUGHBOOK laptops allow teams to enhance situational awareness and coordinate better responses in hazardous areas.

Key TOUGHBOOK features include:

  • Extended battery life. TOUGHBOOK offers devices with long standard battery life and often an optional second battery for even longer operation. For fire teams that often work long shifts in challenging environments, this ensures they remain online and operational without needing to worry about recharges.
  • Unparalleled connectivity. In remote locations or amid towering buildings, maintaining connection can be a challenge. TOUGHBOOK’s powerful antennas keep teams connected, facilitating seamless communication and data access. TOUGHBOOK also has options for FirstNet Ready™ EM7511 Band 14 mobile broadband, Verizon Frontline, GPS, 4G and 5G.
  • Thermal camera. Optional built-in thermal cameras can help firefighters discover danger before it becomes visible to the naked eye, identify the hottest parts of a blaze, or locate crews and civilians in low-visibility areas.
  • Crafted for ruggedness. TOUGHBOOK computers are designed to withstand drops, tolerate extreme heat, and resist dust, water, and smoke.
  • Modularity. Because our laptops are modular and customizable, you can choose only the accessories you need and none you don’t. In case of an issue, you may be able to simply replace an xPAK accessory instead of replacing an entire computer — minimizing downtime and reducing your overall total cost of ownership.

Panasonic Connect also supports its line of TOUGHBOOK devices with features that make the user experience intuitive and efficient. With our Smart Essentials suite, fire departments can monitor and manage device health proactively, from tracking device performance, managing maintenance schedules and prompting pre-emptive device health checks. This level of insight helps fire departments better maintain and manage every device that goes into the field.


Panasonic Connect’s highly scalable and secure, cloud-based Smart Service suite includes three modular solutions:

  • Smart Battery Monitor. Real-time battery health monitoring on all devices, actionable alerts for smart batteries, email warnings for standard mobile batteries, and an overall battery health dashboard
  • Smart Device Monitor. Proactive health monitoring on all devices to highlight issues affecting end-users and views of device locations and status to quickly spot devices which may be lost or stolen.
  • Smart Service. Comprehensive and holistic monitoring, diagnostics, and trend analysis, powered by the latest in machine learning and analytics.

Putting TOUGHBOOK to the Test

While there’s rarely ever a typical day in the life of a firefighter, the TOUGHBOOK is built to serve and assist at all times, starting with the first shift. Firefighters use their laptops and tablets to check reports, perform rig checks, and submit maintenance requests.


Once rig inspections and other safety checks are complete, firefighter teams are ready to roll:

  • Heading to the scene. Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) provides detailed insights into where firefighters are headed and what they might face. Fast, reliable connectivity such as 5G can provide real-time visibility via security camera video, maps, building schematics, 3D models of buildings, floor plans, fire hydrant locations, and building exits.
  • Command and control. Managing resources, equipment and personnel is critical to incident commanders. By monitoring equipment and responders’ health, as well as additional communications from central command, dispatch and other rescue and medical operations, a rugged mobile device connects teams to what’s happening on the ground.
  • Reporting and readiness. After an incident, firefighters not only inspect, clean, and decontaminate their gear, but they also use their mobile devices to check truck inventory so they can restock hoses, nozzles, medical equipment, and other critical supplies. They then file incident reports which help keep the next shift informed.

Beyond Toughness — Panasonic Connect Professional Services

Hardware is undeniably crucial, but it’s only part of the firefighting equation. Think of it in terms of buying a high-performance car: it’s not just about the engine or the leather seats but also about the post-purchase service, the warranty, and the roadside assistance that come along with it.

The perks of Panasonic Connect include:

  • Prompt repairs. Time is of the essence for fire departments. Whether it’s a minor glitch or a significant issue, the repair team is always on their toes to get your devices back up and running.
  • Expert technical support. Panasonic Connect’s 24/7/365 Customer Engagement Center provides a full range of technical support, as well as remote monitoring, device management, on-site installation support, and analytics.
  • Warranty support. From whole-unit assembly and repair to component-level diagnostics and repair, you get ongoing maintenance including industry-leading warranties, leasing, and financing options.

Gear For Firefighters That Answers the Call

The integration of technology, particularly rugged laptops, into firefighting gear is not a luxury but a necessity, and with the right tools, firefighters can meet the challenges of their job head-on:

  • Arrive prepared with real-time safety data, local maps, and building schematics, giving teams a tactical overview before they even reach the scene.
  • Take command using real-time information to plan an effective response with efficient resource allocation.
  • Coordinate response with access to priority and pre-emptive networks, connecting with community resources and governmental agencies.

A more informed firefighter is an efficient firefighter. With better technology at their fingertips, firefighters can make informed decisions, strategize effectively, and minimize risks.

Discover how the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK can redefine your firefighter gear.