Columbia County Fire Rescue uses RFID for inventory and asset control


Columbia County Fire Rescue

 
 

Columbia County Fire Rescue Services has one of the fastest growing populations in northern central Florida.  This growth has fueled the need for 8 stations and increased the number of capital assets to over 1,500.  The job of keeping track of these assets was also growing, to that end Fire Chief Jeffery Crawford who has overseen the department from its origin more than 13 years ago turned to office manager Sandra Davis. Sandra Davis was tasked with making sure assets and equipment are consistently accounted for at a minimum yearly interval.  After 3 years of manually inputting asset and inventory counts Sandra thought there must be a better way.  Sandra states “we needed a better and more efficient way to perform our annual inventory counts”.  She began investigating ways to upgrade their methods through technology.  One of the first things to catch her eye was RFID (radio frequency identification) technology.  RFID is the next generation of asset management and light years ahead of barcode while maintaining backwards compatibility.  With barcode, you have to first find the bar code (hopefully in good readable condition, without smudges, dirt, or damage) then position the equipment to allow for a handheld device to scan the bar code.  Much of the fire rescue equipment is bulky and just downright heavy; it is not an easy task.  Many like Sandra figured, if I have to go through all of that why not stick to doing it by hand? The time and effort is really no different.  However with RFID Sandra simply pulls the trigger on her Zebra 8500 handheld reader as she walks around the station, truck or room and in seconds the count is done.  She looks at her iOS device and uploads the count to the web based asset management IntelliView software provided by Silent Partner Technologies (SPT).

 
 
 
 

IntelliView Product Box

After doing their due diligence on RFID companies Columbia County Fire went with Silent Partner Technologies and their IntelliView solution. The IntelliView Inventory & Asset Tracking solution was specifically developed for fire rescue and EMS operations to help alleviate and automate the tasks associated with inventory and asset tracking. Items such as daily checklists now become electronic records kept “forever” and able to be data-mined to the user’s needs and/or wants. Other features like Par levels for min/max quantities of consumable items can be set and automatic “replenishment” reports can be generated in real time. Gone are the days of hand counting assets and inventory on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. IntelliView does just that, it is an intelligent view of your assets and inventory in real time. This puts you much closer to a potential issue such as misplaced items so that they DO NOT go missing or become lost only to be found year(s) down the road and have to be re-accounted for.

 
 
 

Columbia County Fire RFID scanning assets

Sandra is still in the process of tagging all 1500 capital assets, one station at a time.  She will also be using the technology to track consumables including narcotics.  IntelliView will send her alerts for expirations and par level reordering as well as offer reporting and quick locating of said expired medical supplies and lot number recalls.  Regarding those alerts, Sandra adds: “I especially like the alerts the software performs, so I don’t have to constantly look at my list of maintenance issues on so many items. I simply wait for the alerts to tell me, it’s time to do this or that maintenance function.”  Sandra also says she is looking forward to using the system on bunker gear for tracking purposes, saying “our RFID solution will not only help us with our annual inventory, but will keep us up to date on locations of equipment throughout the year to prevent time wasted searching for inventory and assets”.

 
 
 

Columbia County Fire Scanning

In the coming weeks Columbia County will take advantage of even more of the convenient features IntelliView offers, including maintenance tickets, consumable pick tickets, check-in/check-out features and a comprehensive checklist option that Columbia County has recently begun using. With a fast growing department like Columbia County Fire Rescue, there is no time to waste.  Each member of the team there has specific task that can become consuming if not dealt with efficiently.  At Columbia County Fire Rescue, Chief Crawford and Sandra Davis are not waiting, they have taken advantage of RFID and its exceptional time savings technology now, rather than later and they are glad they did.

 
 
 

Columbia County Fire RFID Taggin

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