How To Keep Track of Fire Equipment

Let’s face it; we’ve moved into the digital age whether we like it or not.

If we haven’t adjusted in some way with technology, we are behind and need to get on board with the latest trends. We now have the ability to keep track of fire department assets and inventory without paper.
The old style may never go away completely, and a time to print may be necessary, but your equipment and inventory system needs to have the flexibility to do both.
Not only on a real-time basis, but also to allow others to access the data and information, wherever and whenever it’s needed.
Best of all, updating to a digital system is easier than ever.

How PSTrax Works

There are many moving parts to inventory and asset management.

For example, equipment that is already in place, new equipment, replacement of damaged equipment, or tracking equipment that needs maintenance or testing.
Your software system also needs to be flexible enough to allow for customization for your department’s needs. As one fire apparatus manufacturer once said, “no two departments fight fires the same way”.

One of the benefits of cloud technology is the ability to track your equipment in real time.
The other added benefit is that you do not have to worry about your information getting damaged, as with paper documentation, from water damage, fire, or other causes.
It goes to a protected area away from your physical location in case a natural disaster or other event were to occur.

When you have a common database that the department can access, regardless of geographic location, items get updated relatively quickly, if not almost immediately.
This advantage can also aid with current or expected budgeting when items are replaced or outside agencies that service your equipment/gear are needed.

The other advantage of having a common inventory and equipment check program that is constantly updated, is that any information that needs attention can be passed on to the personnel tasked with checking critical equipment. Especially those that are performing the same checks from day to day.

Some examples are:

Rig Checks

  • Apparatus inspection and needs for apparatus repair or maintenance.
  • Need to change-out into a spare apparatus. General overview of the fleet and each truck’s status.
  • Instantaneous alerting of maintenance personnel of necessary repairs.
  • Ability to send photos so that critical personnel know exactly what needs attention (a picture is worth a thousand words).

Inventory Tracking

  • Single-use disposable items that were used and need to be replaced, such as medical supplies. Either in-house or from the supply/quartermaster.
  • Apparatus inventory items and power tools.

Station Checks

  • Station supplies – Cleaning items, paper products, kitchen items, et al.
  • Station Maintenance – Building repairs, regular time-based maintenance.

Critical Assets, SCBA & PPE Monitoring

  • Critical safety items such as SCBA repairs and personal/personnel firefighting gear.


Other considerations are the ability to comply with manufacturers, NFPA and OSHA updates, regulations, and mandates. Especially important for safety gear. This would include regular maintenance and repair of SCBA and Firefighting gear, including routine testing, inspection and cleaning, replacement (Inventory in – Inventory out), and reordering of critical items. Undoubtedly, compliance is also necessary for “controlled substances”. Entries, logs, and out-of-date items where FDA rules dictate mandatory record keeping.

Narcotics Management

Across the board, your system needs to keep up with your demands. Support must be in place, staying informed about trends, updates, blogs, and webinars. Trends between other departments and shared knowledge. Another advantage to a cloud-based program is there are no needed “software” updates (other than virtual) that physically must be done for each desktop/laptop computer, smartphone, or tablet. Your system needs to “build” with you with constant tweaks – aided by the service provider.

What is a Turnkey System?

One of the most critical areas is when legal litigation threatens your municipality or personnel. The fact that important items were not overlooked is critical if a malfunction happens and people from either side get injured or have worse consequences. The adage in the Fire Service is, “If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done”. Therefore, a system needs to show that critical items were checked. With the right systems in place, “drillable” documentation can be accessed. Queries down to the last detail need to be available at a moment’s notice. Downloading the information into a familiar format makes access easy such as Word® or Excel®.

The goal is not to find fault on any person but to have accountability to make sure that critical tasks are conducted. Your program must have controls that prevent the notorious “pencil whip”. In other words, a report cannot be closed out until a “mandatory” entry for a particular field in the report has been completed and documented.

Another consideration is to have a method to add “new” items as more modern trends occur. Newer / Better tools, hoses, hose appliances, forcible entry tools, and especially advances in the medical field are always occurring. You need to have the flexibility to add such inventory items without contacting the program provider each time you get something new.

The veterans at your organization are valuable because of their knowledge and experience. The newer employees have been raised in the technology world that now exists. We need to keep up with those trends and take full advantage of having them use a platform that is easy for them to understand and use. They must also pass this information on to new hires and veterans.

PSTrax can supply all the features mentioned here. If there is a “Bell or Whistle” we have not yet supplied, we will install it. Many of our features have come from our patrons asking if it is possible to have “this or that”. We listened and incorporated it into the program, which is part of making us gain the success we have today. We value our clients and want to keep that relationship, not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. We like to consider those we serve as part of our family.

We thank you, the real/true heroes, along with the others, for what you do and your commitment to save human life. Be safe!

We’d love to chat if PSTrax can help you with operations checks and logistics management. Check out our fire department software and contact us for a demo today!


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Frank R. Myers is a retired Lieutenant with the City of Miami (FL) Fire Rescue, where he served 32 years. Before his retirement, he served at the Training Center for six years as the Driver Engineer Instructor. He also served as a Logistics Manager for FEMA, USAR, FLTF2. Currently he works as an Industry Strategic Advisor for, a technology service that helps fire departments across the country automate their apparatus, equipment, and inventory checks. On behalf of PSTrax, Frank has written over 150 articles in various public and trade magazines.

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