Keep Track of Fire Equipment

Let’s face it, we have moved into the digital age whether we like it or not. If we haven’t adjusted in some way with technology, we are behind the curve and need to get on-board with the latest trends. We now have the ability to keep track of company’s assets and inventory management “paperless”. The old parchment may never go away, and a time to print may be necessary. Your equipment and inventory system needs to have the flexibility to conduct both. Not only on a “real-time” basis, but to also allow others to access the data / information wherever and whenever needed.

How PSTrax Works

There are many moving parts of inventory and asset management. For example, equipment that is already in place, new equipment, replacement of damaged equipment (out with the old, in with the new), or equipment that needs maintenance or testing. Your software system also needs to be flexible enough to allow for customization for your departments particular needs and the way it functions. As one fire apparatus manufacturer once said, “no department fights fire the same way”.

PSTrax’s Critical Asset Module

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 in a relatively short amount of time, 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 it constantly updated, is that any information that needs attention can be passed on to personnel checking critical equipment. Especially those that are performing the same checks from day to day.

PSTrax’s Vehicle Module

    • Apparatus inspection and needs for apparatus repair or maintenance. Need to change-out into a spare apparatus. General overview of the fleet and each trucks 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 Module

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

Station Check

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

SCBA Tracking & PPE Levels

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

Other considerations are the ability to stay compliant with manufacturers, NFPA 1852 Standards and  OSHA regulations, and mandates. Especially important for safety gear. This would include regular maintenance and repair of SCBA and Firefighting gear, to include routine testing, inspection and cleaning, replacement (Inventory in – Inventory out), and reordering of critical items. There is no doubt that compliance is also necessary for “controlled substances”. Entries, logs, and out of date items where FDA rules dictate mandatory record keeping.

PSTrax Controlled Substance Module

Across the board your system needs to be able to keep up with your demands. Support needs to be in place, staying informed as to trends, updates, blogs, and webinars. Trends between other departments and shared knowledge. Another advantage to a cloud-based program is there is 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 provider of the service.

One of the most critical areas is when legal litigation threatens your municipality or even 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 making sure that critical tasks were conducted. Your program must have controls in place that prevent the notorious “pencil whip”. In other words, a report cannot be closed out until a “mandatory” entry for a particular field or fields in the report has been completed and documented.

Another consideration is to have in place a method to add “new” items as more modern trends occur. Newer / Better tools, hose, 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 having to contact the provider of the program each time you get something new.

The veterans at your organization are valuable because of their knowledge and experience. The newer employees have pretty much 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 also need to pass this information on to new hires and the veterans. It is built around tradition. A Quote by Dr. Maya Angelou “When you learn, teach, when you get, give”.

We have supplied links into this article. Our company PSTrax can supply all the features mentioned here. If there is a “Bell or Whistle” we have not supplied yet, we will get it installed. Many of our features have come from our patrons that asked 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!

 


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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 PSTrax.com, 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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