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Fire Department Replaces Inefficient Technology with Tablet and Rugged xCase

Sherborn Fire and Rescue Department replaces outdated and bulky technology with sleek and rugged solution from MobileDemand 


In the town of Sherborn, Massachusetts, the Sherborn Fire and Rescue Department was undergoing change. Adapting to the state’s mandate for electronic medical records, the Fire Department was in the market for rugged-yet-mobile technology that was powerful enough to run their software. With around 75 active members performing between 500 and 600 emergency calls per year, the technology needed to be rugged enough to withstand the high demand and the rough environments the first responders experience. 

Customer Challenge 

Because of the new mandate for electronic medical records, Sherborn dove right into the rugged technology world. “We started with a single Panasonic Toughbook,” says Lieutenant Klaus Ullman. “We did that because the police department we work closely with uses the Toughbook for their cruisers.” 

After using the Toughbook in their ambulance, Sherborn realized the results were less than they had hoped for. “At the time we didn’t know any better,” says Ullman. “We didn’t have anything to compare it to. We thought we were doing fine, and then it wasn’t too far into the process that we realized that this just wasn’t suiting our needs.” On top of the steep price tag, the Toughbook was, “a really huge, bulky unit, the performance is not great, [and] the software package…is not that great.” Though tough, they needed something that was more mobile and less cumbersome. They needed a better option. 

MobileDemand Solution 

Ullman began looking for a different solution. “I was really pushing for us to go to more of a tablet-based scenario,” he said. They considered iPads and a few Android tablets, but none of them were powerful enough to run the multiple apps that are required by the first responders. That’s when Sherborn discovered the Microsoft Surface Pro. The tablet was powerful enough to handle the apps, but it had one major drawback - The Surface Pro isn’t built rugged. 

That’s when MobileDemand came in. After a few weeks searching, Ullman found the MobileDemand rugged xCase for the Surface Pro. The case transformed the Surface Pro into a rugged machine that can keep up with the EMT’s day-to-day work and take the beating of such a rough industry. 

But the value of MobileDemand went even further. “Our initial purchase was for a rugged case and for the screen protector,” said Ullman, “but it was through that process that I became aware that MobileDemand offered rugged Microsoft Surface bundles where you get the whole thing rigged up and ready to go. That was a huge bonus!” 


With the ability to purchase Surface Pro bundles, Ullman now has four ruggedized Surface Pros for his team to utilize out in the field; the Sherborn Fire Department is hoping to get two more in the near future. While their primary goals is to provide access to patient-care software directly for first responders, their use doesn’t end there. The department is steadily expanding the use of their mobile tablets into things such as inspections, permitting, and even preplanning for emergency situations in larger facilities. 

The new tablets have helped Sherborn save time as well as keep more accurate data. “It’s a lot easier to enter all the information with the device with you than trying to take notes and enter the information back at the station," Ullman explained. This helps keep critical information from being lost or forgotten after the firemen are returning from the field. 

Pairing MobileDemand’s rugged case with the Surface Pro has enabled the Sherborn Fire and Rescue Department to save time, money, and most importantly, lives - all thanks to a tablet, a rugged case, and a workforce willing to go the extra mile to protect the people in their community.