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How Firemen Improved Asset Management Practices

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For years, volunteer fire departments have struggled with employee and asset management issues, not posing an issue for profit but simply challenging their continued existence. Here are some helpful tips on how volunteer fire fighters have successfully extinguish asset management emergencies. 

It’s safe to say one of the most important emergency services operating in each city or town is the volunteer fire department. These volunteer only organizations respond 24/7, 365 days a year to thousands of emergency calls ranging from serious industrial mishaps, to car accidents, to house fires. Sadly enough, this necessary profession is struggling with a shortage of staff, causing a problem when a multitude of emergencies arise. When this occurs, the fire service calls upon other nearby fire departments who are on-call 24 hours a day. The current demand for volunteer fire fighters worldwide is so excessive that when the state of Washington requested help from volunteers to fight wildfires, more than 3,000 people responded. Students as young as 16 may train to become volunteer fire fighters and respond to calls within the vicinity for no pay. When you are fighting flames in order to safe a life, the last thing on your mind should be whether all of your gear is accounted for.

STOP DROP, AND CONTROL ASSET MANAGEMENT

Since we were young, we have been trained to be aware of safe escape routes in buildings and houses, leave all our belongings behind and behave appropriately during a fire.  Fire drill procedures practically become second nature by the time we are adults. We understand the most important thing is safely, quickly and quietly get out of the building. Could you imagine attempting to track equipment in the midst of that madness?

Related Article: Wasp MobileAsset v7 Buzzes into Businesses 

Take if from Lipscomb Fire and Rescue, a volunteer fire department that attempted old school pen and paper asset management to record equipment items necessary for each vehicle. “Tracking the equipment by hand was very time consuming,” says Jamie Pugh, liaison officer for Lipscomb Fire & Rescue. “Since we’re 100% volunteer, it is important for us to be efficient. For safety purposes, it’s vital our equipment tracking be very accurate. If our tracking isn’t accurate, we aren’t able to provide the public safety services we are committed to provide.”

Pugh conducted research on asset tracking systems and selected Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset based on its ability to complete the job he was looking for at an affordable price. “There was very little debate. When I called to get a quote, I received outstanding customer service,” stated Pugh. So, let’s take a quick 3-point overview to understand what changed from a Lipscomb Fire and Rescue case study:

EMERGENCY

Lipscomb needed a way to accurately track assets due to concerns that their pen and paper system could lead to injury of a fire fighter or civilian.

HOW THE FIRE WAS FOUGHT

Lipscomb Fire & Rescue reduced the amount of time spent tracking and placing appropriate equipment on the trucks from approximately 1 hour per run to less than 20 minutes per run. In the case of an emergency they now know the equipment is there and where it is located on the truck.

BENEFITS

80% less time spent preparing trucks for calls

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Now that you have read Lipscomb’s asset management success story, let’s take a deeper look at the underlying issues of a weak manual system through steps on how to extinguish the fire that is your own business’s asset management:

Step 1: Call for help and understand your own safety

Lipscomb realized they faced a large amount of human error due to asset tracking by pen and paper. After reaching out to Wasp for help, they were able to understand the dangers behind human error.

  • Human error occurs when a multitude of people are tracking a large number of small details; this can be very costly for your organisation. Error especially occurs when a business attempts to track everything on one spread sheet, causing lags in the system and confusion as to who did what.
  • Extinguish human error before the fire does too much damage by selecting a barcode scanner that works best for you. Consider a Wireless Barcode Scanner or a Bluetooth Barcode Scanner.

Step 2: Assess the fire and ready your extinguisher

Lipscomb would spend approximately an hour preparing and tracking equipment per emergency and even more time accounting for the equipment by manually entering data. How is it possible to extinguish a fire when it takes hours to simply ready the equipment?

  • In order to save time and secure safety, your business needs to be ready to go at any moment. We know you’re busy, but tracking and prepping large amounts of expensive inventory shouldn’t take hours to keep up with. Instead, consider barcode solutions to cut time on this essential task.

Step 3: Aim for the base of the fire

Lipscomb’s volunteer fire fighters were spending too many hours tracking assets, taking away from their time to help the community. The cornerstone for many fire departments lies in their volunteers. For your small business, your employees are the base that fuels the fire and spending an unnecessary amount of time asset tracking will put a strain on them.

  • Burn out the issue, not your employees by selecting the right asset management system for your business.

Step 4: Purchase a new extinguisher immediately

Say you buy a new extinguisher, take it home, set it down and forget where you put it… you then find yourself in a sticky situation when there’s a fire and you’re without an easily accessible extinguisher. This is essentially what happens when asset tracking is manual.

“Since implementing Wasp MobileAsset, we have become safer, faster and more efficient.”

  • Centralize data in order for all of your employees to access with ease. Use a Wasp barcode scanner to allow the database to automatically update and grant any member or volunteer immediate access to required equipment.

“Since implementing Wasp MobileAsset, we have become safer, faster and more efficient,” explained Pugh. “And when there is an emergency, the fire fighters now know the equipment is there and they know exactly where it is on the truck.” The above lessons from Lipscomb’s success story can become viable tools for your own small business to extinguish asset management emergencies. It’s time to give back to your own volunteers and employees by implementing a system that saves time, is easy for all to use, affordable and essential for furthering success. Now you decide, are you going to continue to allow your asset management to burn, or will you extinguish the fire once and for all?

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Jay Schofield

Product Business Development Manager at System ID Barcode Solutions
Jay Schofield’s passion is numbers. For more than 10 years, he has been turning facts and figures into actionable business intelligence for System ID. When he’s not researching, analyzing, and planning for the “next big thing,” Jay can be spotted on the lake with family and friends.

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