Fire Department Inventory Tracking Keeps Focus Where it Belongs: on Saving Lives

Fire department inventory is substantial, from the truck itself, the various tools and equipment firefighters rely upon, and their uniforms and gear. Firefighters simply can’t afford to be without the items they need. After all, lives often are on the line. They need to be able to trust that their equipment is in good working order, to know where items are located and have a quick, reliable means to order replacements if needed.

A real-time fire department inventory platform will enable firefighters to check items in and out or assign them to a particular location. They can assign items to a specific fire truck. When you have a real-time inventory tracking system, it’s also easier and faster to determine if any items are missing from your vehicle. Firefighters also may use an inventory tracking system to track and manage documents and records. Emergency Medical Services (EMS), who often accompany firefighters on the scene, also benefit from the ability to track and manage inventory and assets. When data is centralized and accessible to all stakeholders, firefighters are able to focus on what matters most, instead of wasting time hunting down lost items or searching for replacements.


"A fire department inventory system can provide firefighters with a means to create a work order on the spot."


Fire departments often encounter the following scenarios:

• In an effort to avoid running out of stock of any critical item, some fire departments stock up on specific inventory. That can result in waste, however, if those items really aren’t needed after all.
• Some inventory – for example, medical supplies and equipment -- can expire. Again, departments who frontload items in the event they’ll need them could be diverting limited resources from where they’re more urgently needed. Additionally, if those supplies are expired and nobody is monitoring the expiration dates, public safety could be compromised.
• Consider how often firefighters are away from their offices. They bring expensive tools and equipment with them to various sites under stressful conditions, creating the perfect scenario for loss – and making it more difficult to perform inventory audits later.

Within any fire department, you’ll find equipment that requires periodic servicing and maintenance. Because it’s extremely easy to lose track of when items need to be serviced, equipment can break down due to wear and tear, resulting in expensive repairs or even replacements. If an item breaks down unexpectedly, a fire department inventory system can provide firefighters with a means to create a work order on the spot.
Pen and paper and Excel spreadsheets are terribly inefficient, time-consuming and error-prone ways of tracking inventory. Yet, some departments continue to rely on these manual methods. Mistakes are very common when you’re dealing with the human factor, and it’s difficult to keep up with the day-to-day movement of your inventory and assets if you have to either key in or log data by hand. Waste and guesswork are the usual outcomes of manual recordkeeping.

Barcode technology represents a giant leap forward in fire department inventory tracking. With barcodes, it’s a snap to enter inventory into the system, then track its whereabouts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Asset Panda presents a highly configurable, cost-effective mobile platform for fire department inventory. The free iOS and Android Asset Panda apps include a mobile barcode scanner and sync with the cloud. Features are completely customizable, the technology is intuitive and easy to learn. Set up notifications and alerts, create work orders, issue reports and track your critical inventory, including its condition and whereabouts, any time of day or night. Clients throughout the world already trust Asset Panda to help them track and manage their inventory and deliver peace of mind.

Here's how one local police department used Asset Panda to better track and manage its assets and inventory.

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Courtney Roush

Courtney Roush is a freelance writer, editor, and communications strategist with 25 years of experience. Her favorite discipline is crisis communications – and it’s a highly relevant one in our present times.

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