The Cost of Fire Department Checks

It is hard to dismiss the image of a clipboard and pen when you think of department checks. Old habits need to be broken if your team is to get the most out of modern software. 

Going paperless for your station checks, inventory checks, and vehicle checks can yield substantial benefits to your department, from space allocation to audit compliance.

So many times, I have been told that when it comes to looking up records for assorted items or services, there is only one person who has been doing it for years. This person could be your departments Quartermaster, Logistics, or Apparatus person(s). This person is the only one that knows their method for organizing, filing, or finding the documents and/or records we are searching for. 

Is it job security? 

Regardless, your system for inventory, inspections, supplies, maintenance, and other aspects, needs to be transparent.

Benefits of cloud-based management software

As far as cloud storage or going paperless, think of the savings you will benefit from:

  • Transparency
  • Reduced expenses for buying paper, binders, printer ink, and printers
  • Regaining storage space used for hard copy filing (filing cabinets)
  • Universal accessibility for personnel (either general or specific)
  • Rapid access to essential information, especially during audits for department, local, municipal, and federal requirements
  • Security to access sensitive information by the authorized personnel
  • Sustainability and green friendly/compliance for new or newer buildings or transitioning to become compliant

Paper-free, hassle-free

Paperless tracking saves in more ways than mentioned above. Even though we have access to send documents via email, the fact is that there will be at time where you may have to physically go in person to retrieve the necessary items. These aren’t the norm anymore however, so it’s more important to prioritize how you are communicating digitally, rather than worrying about the occasional time you need a hard copy.

Access and transparency

Having the ability to access information within the documentation that you are looking for is a substantial benefit.. Just download the information into an easily accessible document (Excel® or Word®), then display it rather than having to print it on paper.. Again, we are not saying to rule out printing entirely. For instance, a compliance inspector may want a hard copy of the requested information to take back to their office. However, you can also, email it right from your device.

Remote reporting and documentation

We all know that a picture says a thousand words. Let’s say that I’m starting my morning vehicle check for the apparatus which I am going to drive during my shift. I open the PSTrax app and begin my apparatus and inventory check for that day and whatever special items need to be checked (daily, weekly, monthly, annual). I discover a leaking drain valve and damaged lenses on one of the emergency lighting pods on the roof. I can quickly snap a picture of it, upload it to the app, and send it immediately so that the proper personnel at the maintenance/repair facility know exactly what the issue is. 

Moving on to SCBA Checks, I notice that there are SCBA packs that are leaking or failing on of the required daily checks. Oh, and I have low psi in the cylinders assigned to the apparatus that need to be refilled or replaced. Once again, I can take a quick video or picture or send a message to the SCBA support personnel so they can come service or replace the items that are affected. 

Cloud software allows personnel checking an apparatus to instantly verify the mileage and time passed since last inspection, whether that’s “Routine or Preventive” maintenance. This is one of the best methods to accomplish substantial savings for your fleet and prevent costly failures in the future.

Just remember, all we need is Wi-Fi access. Also, if your personnel do not want to use their own phones or tablets, very inexpensive ones can be purchased, either new or used (a “throw-down”). These can be dedicated to staying on the apparatus or inside the stations for supply/medical requests. In this way, you can avoid any complaints that could occur.

Easy to use cloud-based management software

Remember, everything is cloud based. Therefore, the update process automatically occurs. A monthly fee is all that is needed, at a reasonable price. 

There are much easier ways out there than using the clipboard and pencil. PSTrax is your answer to accomplish these important tasks. This assures response readiness and that everything will function or be there when real emergencies happen. Godspeed, Stay safe!

If PSTrax can help you with operations checks and logistics management, we’d love to chat. Please check out  fire department software solutions for help with tasks like vehicle checks, or contact us for a free 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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