The need for Digital Fire Logs and a Unified Tracking Resource
The world has fast moved past the age of pen and paper.
Especially when it comes to keeping data. Fire Departments and EMS Agencies that have refused to join the digital trend often find themselves filling the memory box as they go out of service.
Digitizing makes it easier to preserve, access, and share and information. Imagine if the stone age were digitalized. Archeologists and historians would have their works cut out for them and the world would most likely be filled with much more knowledge than it has now.
Digital transformation is a continuous journey that has changed the way we as people operate or respond to everyday activities. And there is no Stop in sight. Apple, for instance, has broken the barrier between wristwatches and a mobile phone. The Apple wristwatch has phone and internet capabilities. It is a good example of digitalization at its best.
Digitalization deploys agile methodologies and leverages analytics in order to evaluate the success of a structure. But unfortunately, some human basic structures, such as fire departments / EMS Agencies are still making use of paper logbooks to track activities such as daily DEA tracked narcotic use for patients, daily and weekly apparatus checks, inventory checks, personal protective gear and self-contained breathing apparatus bottles, hose and pump schedules, preventive maintenance and annual tests, advanced and basic life support equipment, station supplies, among many others.
Here are some of the Issues with Paper Logs
- The paper log can be in various places in the department making it sometimes challenging for employees to access the logs for needed data checks and audits.
- It can take a lot of time to search and locate particular entries. Like checking an encyclopedia – except logbooks are usually not as well documented.
- Paper logbooks can be tampered with.
- Proper scrutiny and filing require meticulous efforts – labor intensive.
- paper log records can be damaged or lost by those in charge of it and data can also be erased.
- Paper logbooks rely on legible handwritings, therefore, sloppy entries will result in loss of information
- Paper logbooks are time-consuming, thereby, aiding means procrastination. Especially with all the other responsibilities the department has going on. From calls, training, to maintaining certifications among others. This means some information may not get updated.
- They are most often outdated.
- They are not always useful in legally verifying the department’s compliance. That is they don’t always stand up in court.
- They don’t always include all the equipment that needs to be checked.
- No built-in mechanism to ensure that everyone who needs to be in the loop is in the loop, at all times.
Digital logbooks help avoid or curb the above issues. It can be used to
- Ensures easy tracking and monitoring from anywhere anytime.
- Everyone is on the same page and information doesn’t get missed. Whereas before you’re juggling about five things at the same time and trying to figure what checks to be done, digital logbooks saves and documents information automatically. So it’s easier to know what needs to be checked, when it needs to be checked and how to go about it.
- Digital logbooks ensure maintenance. According to Bob Norton, of the Haddam Volunteer Fire Company, Higganum, Connecticut, “Maintenance is the most lackluster part of the fire service. But outside of training, it may be the most important. Tools are only good if they perform when you need them to. That goes for everything from the gas in a generator to the brakes on a truck.”
- Digital logbooks are well organized and designed with ease of use and connectivity that ensures everything gets documented in a few clicks and information gets updated automatically. This makes maintenance checks more efficient and combats the hundreds of accidents, or near accidents, that occur yearly due to poor maintenance inspections.
- Lower costs of maintenance – Government-Fleet.com reported in 2013 that consistent and complete inspections of equipment can extend operating life by up to 30 percent and reduce maintenance costs because issues get taken care of before they become costlier. Since checks are made easier with digital logbooks, it ensures nothing gets overlooked thereby reducing maintenance costs.
- Easy communication is assured. Firefighters and EMS Personnel can easily connect with dispatchers to inform them about the safety of entering a scene.
- Encourages budget and transparency – The data collected on digital logbooks can be integrated with national fire records; giving federal and state governments a better idea of how much is needed by the fire departments usage.
- Digital logs allow the department manage the receipt, movement, administration and final disposition of each individual drug.
- Stand up in court.
- Can be used on any devices – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers.
From the aforementioned, it is easy to see that digital logbooks for fire departments and EMS Agencies are the way to go. Not only do they save lives, time and energy, they are cost-efficient. The price may look discouraging and not easy to assimilate into the department’s budget but after calculating the benefits of digital logs and tracking platforms, the conclusion that they are totally worth it will be arrived at.