A Department is the element that all other elements are "associated" to. Imagine an org chart... Department is at the top from which all other elements report to. This form might take a few minutes but once you have it set up you won't have to work with it again, for the most part. The required data for the Department are fairly logical. One thing to remember, FirstResponder treats the Department as an organization, not a physical location.
The department's Short Name, e.g. MLVFD, is used where space is tight (remember, most of the responders will be using a smartphone or tablet.) The Long Name let's you capture the full name of the Department e.g. Mountain Lakes Volunteer Fire Department.
The Dispatcher's Email Address let's the system know to only accept Alert emails from this official email address. Similarly, the Department's Unique ID will allow First-Responder, which may be getting multiple emails from the same Dispatcher or CAD, to correctly identify the Department for which the Alert email is intended. First-Responder will expect this unique id in the email's addressee field. The template for this department email address is dept[uniqueId]@demoresponder.appspot.com.
For Departments which receive text or email Alerts, this is the email address you would add to the Alert email distribution list. For instance, Mountain Lakes Vol Fire Department receives messages from Morris County Dispatch and its unique County ID is 2599. So the First-Responder system, getting an email from Dispatcher Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org with the addressee email of email@example.com (where 2599 is the Department's Unique Id in Morris County's CAD) would create an Alert for Mountain Lakes Vol Fire Department. First-Responder provides a convenient form to create an Alert directly in the application for departments that handle their own dispatching. That is covered under the Command training section.
The next required fields are the Latitude and Longitude for the Department. This is used primarily for calculating the proximity of responders to the department's first due. So if the department only has one firehouse you might use its latitude and longitude since the proximity of responders to it (and its apparatus) is the most relevant proximity information. You select a Latitude and Longitude by clicking on the map. A red marker will be displayed. You can click and "drag" this marker to fine tune your Department's coordinates. If the department has three firehouses, and members can respond to any of these, then you might want to pick a spot roughly in the middle of all three. In another section you will be able to create Locations for each firehouse so that responder proximity can more accurately be calculated to those Locations.
Now to the phone numbers. First-Responder lets department members call a local phone number to tell Command that they are responding. They call another number to say they are not coming. The admin enters these numbers in the appropriate field. You can get local numbers (if there are not already numbers in your area) by setting up two Google Voice accounts and directing voicemail notification emails to First-Responder. The third phone number field is not in use at this time.
The Town Names field is used to create a convenient pick list of Towns where your Dispatcher might be dispatching the department to. They do this in the Create Alert area under the Command Section. If your first due covers multiple towns then enter those towns here separated by a comma. You will need to select the Set Town button on the Admin screen in order to complete this customization.