Considered heroes in the community, the job of a First Responder is no doubt selfless, dangerous and exciting! While many cannot fathom walking into a burning building, performing life-saving procedures, or going on a high-speed chase, for the men and women who do this every day – it is business as usual.
Yes, when you think of a Firefighter or Paramedic, the first thought that comes to mind is the incredibly important duties they perform every day. What most do not see, however, are the behind-the-scenes tasks that ensure these exciting responsibilities turn into successful and safe ones. By performing inventory and vehicle inspections, First Responders make certain that they are ready for the day – prepared for whatever is thrown at them.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Lt. Bates of the Smyrna Fire Department in Georgia, a long-time user of Operative IQ’s Inventory and Asset Management Solution. Located just a few minutes outside of Atlanta, the City of Smyrna is home to roughly 56,000 residents.
Lt. Bates gave us an inside look of what it is like to be on the front lines and how Operative IQ has helped his department with the necessary, but tedious, daily tasks (that no crew member really enjoys) like inventory count, inspections and asset tracking.
Agency Journey to Operative IQ
Before Smyrna Fire was an Operative IQ customer, Lt. Bates was like most EMS Directors – doing inventory, ordering supplies and managing assets manually with paper, excel or a combination. At the start of his position, he knew there must be a better way. After doing his research and getting feedback from surrounding departments, Smyrna Fire started with Operative IQ. Now, several years later, Smyrna Fire is a star user for the system and tracks almost all of its medical supplies, drug bags and valued assets through Operative IQ.
While the idea of implementing a new software can seem daunting, it becomes just as habitual as the old process, only quicker and simpler. “It takes roughly 15 minutes to do a good daily truck check, whereas weekly checks are a bit more detailed and take up to 30 minutes. The Check Sheet is a guide for our staff to know where all needed equipment is and its serviceability,” Lt. Bates said. He also likes that their crew can complete the check off as a team. “The newer members will check the cabinets/compartments, the paramedic will check all ALS equipment and medications and our Sergeants will check the serviceability of the apparatus,” he said. If the crew is missing inventory, a request is made to department heads and is restocked from the supply room.
“Operative IQ has also helped us with routine checks and feedback on missing or broken equipment,” Bates said. “This gives Response Chiefs and administrative staff the ability to make quick adjustments and fixes to keep our response times quick for citizens.”
The check sheet that Smyrna Fire uses connects directly to Operative IQ’s system Back Office and lets the admin staff know exactly what supplies are being used, when, where and by whom. The technology allows the crew and staff to connect quickly and seamlessly – ensuring trucks and crew are ready to respond.
The Administrative Staff…
Just as easy as Operative IQ makes daily and weekly check offs for the crew, the software aims to make purchasing and managing supplies equally as smooth for the those responsible for these tasks. Lt Bates mentions that It now only takes about 15 minutes to complete a purchase order, a huge improvement from before using Operative IQ. Based on supply usage from the vehicles and routine cycle counts, the system will suggest items to reorder which eliminates the guessing work and eyeballing we are too familiar with. While Lt. Bates says the ordering process is seamless, he mentions that being able to see supply levels at any given moment and do cost analysis is extremely helpful and beneficial when buying supplies.
“Before Operative IQ we had no way to track our medical supply usage. Firefighters would come up to the main station with a paper list of supply needs at any time, which was difficult for the admin team to a good track on supply needs and inventory. With a set guideline on what supplies should be at each station, when to order supplies and the ability to see supply levels, this keeps our firefighters call ready.”
Communication in this industry is key to a safe and successful shift. With tools like the electronic check sheet, purchasing functionality and reporting features, Operative IQ allows the daily tasks of each team member to interconnect on a much greater level, ensuring the safety and readiness of every First Responder.