Englewood, CO - The Englewood Fire Department has signed up with Golden-based PSTrax to automate its apparatus and equipment checks. It is the fifth Colorado fire department to enlist the services of the startup, whose aim is to replace tedious and mistake-prone paper logbooks with a software service designed to automate all of a department’s preventive maintenance inspections.
Although most fire departments have sophisticated software for incident reporting and fire prevention inspections, a majority still use pen-and-paper check sheets for their preventive maintenance checks. And with so much equipment to look after, keeping track of it all by hand can be time- and labor-intensive.
That’s why Mark Ertle, Battalion Chief with the Englewood (CO) Fire Department, turned to PSTrax. “I was looking for a program that would reduce redundancies during truck checks and let the crews better maintain their trucks and equipment. What I really like is the fact that you can completely customize the program so that it fits the needs of the department and the crews.”
Although switching from paper to a computer screen can be felt immediately, the long-term impacts of efficient maintenance checks are much more important, according to PSTrax founder Scott Bergeron. “Not only does proper preventive maintenance extend equipment life and reduce out-of-service time, it can potentially save lives. Every year, people and property are needlessly put in harm’s way because departments are still using antiquated logbooks that let crucial checks get missed.”
PSTrax eliminates many points of exposure that can lead to malfunctions. The turnkey software service enables fire department and EMS crews to simplify and automate apparatus maintenance, daily checks, inventory schedules, and other station tasks—helping keep maintenance current and ultimately prolonging equipment life. It aims to make crews safer through improved equipment inspections, communications, and documentation.
Accessible on everything from desktops to smartphones, PSTrax also offers a rare benefit in today’s technology world: easy setup and deployment. Notes Bergeron, “We set it up and manage the system to each department's specifications, so all users have to do is sign in, see which checks are due, and go to work. There’s not the hair pulling that usually accompanies technology rollouts.”
Besides the obvious issues involving protection of people and property, there are major financial fire department incentives to keep equipment functioning and repair costs down. A 2013 report released through the National Fire Protection Association Fire Analysis and Research Division found that fire protection costs rose 115% from 1986 to 2011 after adjusting for inflation. According to the report, these increased costs are due in large part to "a more frequent replacement of apparatus;" a side effect of fire departments serving larger communities with diminishing budgets. Bergeron emphasizes that proper, timely preventive maintenance can extend the life of apparatus and equipment, minimizing upward pressures on department budgets.
This article was written for & published by FireApparatusMagazine.com.