Whether you've been charged with the task of creating a website for your local fire department or you are a firefighter who wants a personal page, you'll want a template that reflects the calling of a firefighter. Fortunately, there are solutions for just about every level of web design ability, from that absolute beginner web designer to the most advanced coding specialist.
Free Website Templates
This site offers free templates to download, including one called Firefighter Website Template. The design has a main page and several sub pages. The main page is dark with white text and a large banner across the top that features a photo of a firefighter with soot on his face. There's an area in the body of the page for recent news, featured news and an image gallery. Ideally, the images on each of the pages would be replaced with photographs from your own fire department rather than stock photos, but the stock photos could be used as space holders until appropriate photos could be secured.
Files that come with the download include:
- CSS source code
To edit this template, you'll need:
- HTML knowledge or HTML editing software (intermediate web design knowledge)
- Basic CSS knowledge
- Web space where you can upload the edited files via FTP
- At least five professional quality personal photos to replace third party photos. Photos should be at least 1200 x 1200 pixels and can then be reduced to match the sizes needed for each page, depending upon placement.
Reviews: On Webmaster Forums, where the site's owner asked for reviews from members, some people suggested that the ads were distracting and the page didn't stand out from others that are available, but most agreed that the offerings were impressive for a free site.
Your First Due
For anyone who has a little HTML knowledge, an all-in-one solution like Your First Due may be the answer. The websites you can build through this service are probably best suited to small or volunteer fire departments.
Your fees include:
- 200 MB of storage space
- Ability to post unlimited updates in a WYSIWYG format
- Ability to add custom HTML pages
- Add polls for your visitors to participate in
- Add calls and statistics
- Add a gallery
- Upload files to a library
- Firefighter glossary of terms
- Discussion forum
- Ability to add an online store
- RSS feed
You'll need to know:
- How to edit in a WYSIWYG environment similar to Microsoft Word
- How to upload images and files
Reviews: Firecritic.com lists Your First Due as one of the top ten web template services for firefighters. The review on this site states that "the upside is the cost and functionality" and the reviewer feels the site will continue to grow in popularity due to the value for the cost.
Cost: No set up fee/No contract/$24.95 per month
Template Monster offers Website Template #30065, which is specifically for firefighters. The background of this template is black with brilliant red, yellow and orange accents, and the header has a firefighter in the forefront and a burning building and fire truck in the background. It is available in HTML or PSD formats.
The template comes with:
- Homepage HTML
- Images that can be edited in Adobe
- Inner Pages (Fire Chief's Message, News, Careers, Contacts, Equipment)
- Ability to gain access to admin panel, have a customized header created, or change the color scheme for additional fees
To edit the files yourself, you will need:
- Adobe Dreamweaver 8+
- Adobe Photoshop CS+
- Way to unzip files
However, Template Monster can be commissioned to complete this work for you.
Reviews: Top Ten Reviews lists Template Monster as the number one provider of website templates. The sites receives a high ranking because of the sheer number of templates available (20,000 +). However, the site also offers templates in a variety of formats, including CSS and PSD.
Cost: $63/single site license, more for exclusive use or to also gain hosting
Additional Ideas for Templates
While the number of templates specifically created for firefighters may be limited, don't rule out other templates that reflect the personality of your fire department or your personality as an individual firefighter. A basic template can take on the look of your department as you add photos, a custom banner, and local news. Consider hiring a local graphic artist or web designer to add some custom touches to your website as your department can afford it, and do the rest of the work yourself. Be open to new ideas, and you'll soon have a website that is as individual as each firefighter in your company.