In the emergency services sector, assets are lifesaving tools, whether they provide added health and safety for emergency services personnel, help them to better carry out their job roles or are the vital tools between life or death. For these reasons alone, any assets need to be maintained and managed effectively, with watch officers and managers consistently having sight of the location and status of key assets at any one time. With the rise of smart technology and advancements of Asset Tracking and maintenance systems such as that provided by Idhammar, this is proving simpler and more accessible than ever before but will require input from the team and compliance to the whole process in order to see real changes. John Roberts, director of Idhammar Systems explains why organisations should be Prioritising Asset Management and working to update and enhance processes if they wish to ensure assets and personnel are ready for emergencies.
During an emergency situation, response time is everything, particularly as emergency services receive over 30 million 999 calls a year and this figure is predicted to grow. Research has been carried out by the Home Office on response times trends and it discovered that response time to fires have increased gradually over the past 20 years, with a typical response being made within eight minutes and 45 seconds for potentially more serious fires between 2017/2018 in England. Yet, there is room for improvement across the board for fire services and other emergency service organisations, and this is where reporting and asset monitoring data will prove critical, helping to improve the crew turnout time from the point at which the service was alerted of an incident. For example, if asset management tracking isn’t accurate across one or multiple sites, it will be almost impossible to refine or enhance this current performance statistic and provide the public the safety services it requires.
Traditionally, pen and paper processes have been utilised to monitor data in this way, but this approach has its complications. For example, if information is not collected accurately, it can compromise the safety of 999 personnel or civilians, particularly if certain assets are expected to be operable and noted in a particular station but this proves to be incorrect. After all, an emergency situation is not the ideal time to discover defective or misplaced equipment and bad asset management could result in compliance and potentially even legal issues. If a civilian becomes injured, or worse, as a result of your poor processes, it could leave your department at risk of negligence issues. So really, you should be thinking safety first and implementing a more reliable software system, utilising technology to streamline your process. Although certainly not a new introduction but a far cry from their initial iterations, Computerised Asset Tracking and Maintenance Management Systems useful tools in helping to track and monitor activity, with real-time reporting tools which can support maintenance and defect actions across the board.
Keeping your fleet in check
Yet as well as organising site-specific assets, a key consideration for any blue light organisation is the management of its fleet vehicles and drivers. In the UK alone, there are over 300,000 frontline staff using over 50,000 vehicles and 115 aircraft within the Police, Fire & Rescue and Ambulance services, all responding to emergency situations on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s imperative that they are managed effectively and responsibly. With this in mind, any fleet management services will need to include insurance, claims or infringement management, as well as fuel levels in order to ensure the smooth running of these thousands of vehicles. After all, your fleet needs to be ready to operate at a moment’s notice and opting for these tools will help to ensure your department adheres to strict compliance standards with up-to-date records and real-time reporting, keeping your blue lights on the road when they’re needed the most.
Making continuous improvements
Taking these factors into consideration, it’s critical to acknowledge that data capture and reporting can be key factors for protecting your organisation, as well as driving forward continuous improvement to response times and the longevity of assets in this area. This is something which you should seriously consider if you wish to improve efficiencies by speeding up your inventory process and managing defects, allowing users to perform their roles without restriction or concern. However, continuous improvement is an ongoing journey and as the title suggests, cannot be achieved overnight. The first step is to outline the key issues affecting your station/ site and identifying routes to improvement whether that’s upgrading your paper-based system, updating the frequency of your maintenance testing or ensuring your assets are all tracked and accounted for in a more controlled process.
Systems and processes are critical to effective operations and the safe management of emergency and often life-saving situations. Not only can this help to ensure that your assets and equipment are in a fit state of operation when they’re needed but will also help to guarantee that they are in their expected location. However, to fully manage this process with best practice procedures and to guarantee better results, you should be addressing your asset tracking and maintenance management systems, incorporating the technological advances that these systems bring to fully realise change. Not only will these allow for real-time updates and reporting so your whole team are kept in the know but they will help you to better analyse your data and schedule in planned asset maintenance to support optimum performance levels.