Thousands die needlessly each year due to delayed emergency response time (USA Today). When it comes to emergency response every second counts. This is particularly important in the case of cardiac arrest patients. Most cardiac arrest patients can be saved by timely electrical defibrillation and ALS (Advanced Life Support) intervention. According to the American Heart Association, the chances of survival for patients experiencing cardiac arrest decrease by 7-8% every passing minute! Additionally, it is seen that deaths due to road accidents are considerably increased when there is an increase in the response time. In such situations, equipment hiccups that delay response time can mean the difference between life and death. In one such case, a 2 year old past away due to delayed response by the fire department due to engine shortages. It is for this reason that many emergency response agencies employ asset tracking software to better manage critical equipment.
This blog details 4 ways in which asset tracking software helps emergency response agencies overcome key challenges.
Increased Asset Visibility For Faster Deployments
The two most important steps towards a faster emergency response are better personnel and equipment management. Emergency response agencies may have thousands of equipment including medical units, protective gear, emergency lighting and ambulances. It is important to document equipment details, ownership and availability for greater asset visibility. By increasing asset visibility emergency response agencies can efficiently distribute their equipment usage and ensure that necessary equipment is available and locatable for all emergency response calls.
Traditional methods of tracking equipment may include using spreadsheets. However, the erroneous and time-extensive nature of spreadsheets makes them more detrimental than useful. Asset tracking software, on the other hand, is far more reliable as it tracks equipment in real time and instantly records and updates information. The barcode and QR code scanning features of the software make looking up and issuing out equipment for emergency response situations swift and efficient. Location tracking within the software makes it easier to find equipment amongst the multitude of assets kept by emergency response agencies.
The software also allows scanning of employee cards and equipment labels for faster checkouts. This makes for faster deployments and ensures that other response teams do not end up looking for equipment that is already checked out. The software also supports different access levels for each member. This allows incident commanders or managers to easily login and access authorized equipment without needing to go through unnecessary security protocols. The login access control settings of the asset tracking software also allow for better collaboration and usage of equipment.
Better Maintenance Management for Increased Equipment Reliability
Conducting regular maintenance checks on equipment reduces the likelihood of equipment breakdowns and improves equipment performance. Equipment malfunctions are detrimental to emergency response missions. Therefore, it is imperative that emergency response agencies ensure that all their equipment is in top shape. However, tracking the maintenance of legions of equipment and associated parts is difficult to accomplish without an automated software solution.
Asset tracking software allows for maintenance events to be scheduled, monitored and recorded. Scheduling maintenance for an array of equipment allows managers to easily track when maintenance is due for each equipment. Managers can then send equipment into maintenance and notify the person in charge of the maintenance. Equipment that is sent for maintenance is marked as unavailable in the software. This allows emergency response agencies to easily plan for when equipment is unavailable and ensure that the absence of equipment does not affect the emergency response effort.
Sometimes it is important to check equipment each time it is brought back in. This helps to quickly identify any damages made or simply ensures that equipment is properly prepped for the next response effort. The service triage feature of asset tracking software helps achieve this workflow. The feature allows equipment to be automatically sent into and out of maintenance for a defined duration whenever it is checked back in.
Better Auditing and Reporting for Compliance
Most emergency response agencies with federal grants need to meet the requirements set by the Code of Federal Grantees (CFR). These require that response agencies declare all assets that are in their possession and have a proper system in place to control the damage, theft or loss of equipment. In cases of equipment loss agencies need to conduct a proper investigation so as to determine the cause of the loss. Additionally, agencies must also provide detailed records of asset procurement costs, depreciation, and retirement.
Preparing these reports can detract response agencies from focusing on improving their response times. With asset tracking software agencies can spend less time preparing audit reports and more time on training and emergency preparedness. First of all the software maintains detailed records of asset procurement; response agencies can create and track purchase orders from within the software. An asset tracking mobile app can be used to carry out lightning-fast audits across multiple locations. Depreciation tracking within the software allows agencies to easily pull information on the current valuation of their assets. The software also helps increase accountability as the ownership history of each equipment is known. This also makes it easier to investigate equipment losses and damages.
Greater Insights for Better Planning
Reports on asset utilization, maintenance, member activities and depreciation available from within the software help organizations gain valuable insights into their equipment. The information gained from these reports allows emergency response agencies to better plan their inventory and make effective asset procurement, usage, maintenance and retirement decisions.
Procurement decisions based on asset utility, past performance and vendor history ensure that agencies are able to accurately determine the most cost-effective path for purchasing equipment. Using reports on maintenance and asset depreciations help agencies compare the cost incurred by each equipment with its actual value. This helps them make more informed and timely asset retirement or replacement decisions. Utilization reports can help flag up any unused equipment that is merely inflating storage costs and can also help agencies in deciding if equipment needs to be relocated to locations where it is in higher demand.
Asset tracking software can mitigate risk and improve emergency response time. The software affords emergency response agencies more visibility into their assets and equipment and allows for faster check-outs i.e. deployments. Maintenance tracking helps agencies ensure greater equipment reliability and deters unexpected equipment breakdowns. The auditing and reporting features of the software make it easier to meet CFR requirements and also maintain internal checks on equipment. Additionally, reports on asset usage and other details make for better asset purchase, management and retirement decisions. Therefore, asset tracking software plays a key role in helping emergency response agencies achieve lower response times and better execution.
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