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, inventory, 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.”

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

  • Transparency
  • Money saving for buying paper, binders, printer ink, and printers
  • Re-gaining 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

This link will give and idea of how the PSTrax systems works. It displays and easy to understand flow chart:

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 needed. Involving having to use a vehicle, burn gasoline, wear, and tear, and exposing oneself to traffic and the dynamic changing situations that are presented to us.

Having the ability to access or “drill-down” information within the documentation that you are looking for is a substantial benefit. No more thumbing through piles of paper, or binders. Why not access the exact item in need, download the information into an easily accessible document (Excel® or Word®). Then display it rather than having to print it on paper, and use your electronic means you use, either to a group or individual person. 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, better yet, email it right from your device.

We all know that a picture says a thousand words. Let us say I am starting my morning check for the apparatus I am going to drive during my shift. I open the PSTrax app and begin my apparatus and inventory checkout for that day and whatever special items need to be checked (daily, weekly, monthly, annual) henceforth “rolling schedule.” 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. Now it is a one trip instead of two because the exact part(s) are known saving having to go back and forth between facilities. Also, no wasted trip if the items are not available for repair.

A large savings we can also benefit from is the apparatus repair/maintenance personnel will know exactly the mileage and time that has passed for “Routine or Preventive” maintenance. Of all things, this is one of the best methods to accomplish substantial savings for your fleet and prevent costly failures in the future.

Continuing my check, 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.

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.

Another cost benefit is the fact that there is no “software” that needs to be purchased or downloaded onto each smart device. Remember, everything is “cloud” based. Therefore, the update process automatically occurs. A monthly fee is all that is needed, at a reasonable price! There is no need to lengthy contracts or special licenses/licensing for the software. Simple is better. If you have not taken advantage of, or have moved into the digital age, you may be already outdated. There are much more 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 for 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 our solutions and offerings 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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