PSTrax Advisory Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) ramps up funding, accountability requirements
Any time the Department of Homeland Security gives you grant money it’s a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is you get new equipment. The bad news is its a logistical nightmare keeping track of all the stuff and reporting its whereabouts back to the Feds.
In the case of Harris County, TX (county seat Houston), tracking the equipment and reporting it back involved 57 fire departments in the greater metro Houston area. With this much small equipment, keeping track of it, and reporting it back quickly became a nightmare.
To simplify the inspection and tracking process, Harris County contracted with Littleton, CO based PSTrax - Paperless Station Solutions to develop an automated, cloud-based system that would help track the equipment on a quarterly basis. It also automates the notification process when repairs or replacements are needed. The PSTrax program has transformed this highly labor-intensive job into a simple process. The custom built software lets crews in each department log in from any internet device including tablets and smartphones, and record the location of the equipment. This inspection process automatically notifies Harris County Fire Marshalls Office in real time, which cuts down the enormous task of manually contacting each department.
Keeping track of all the equipment is now a much easier task. Equipment ranging from T-passes, micro-repeaters and radios, to SCBA/PPE and even entire inventoried apparatus can be handled through the PSTrax platform. Benefits in labor savings are obvious, but most departments and entities site real time data and alert functions, along with automatic documentation as just a few of the many advantages. With all the life saving equipment and gear inspections being handled, crews are now better prepared during their calls. The PPE gear program now is critical with all the cancer related findings coming to the forefront. This way departments know when gear has been decontaminated and repaired, or is expiring.
“We set up 57 departments to their custom specs and trained the crews. Client departments will usually tell you this has been a total game-changer for their organizations, and crews have embraced the program as cutting edge and a true culture change they embrace. And anyone, from a UASI official to fire chief, can receive a current and complete report and documentation on a moment’s notice,” says PSTrax principal Scott Bergeron.
Rodney Reed, Harris County, TX Deputy Chief of Planning, Training Division, Fire Marshal’s Office, explains his rationale for getting PSTrax on board: “The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office (HCFMO) is charged with monitoring and accounting for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funded equipment. Currently HCFMO is responsible for tracking a variety of equipment from radios, personal accountability equipment, camera systems, and hazmat equipment…HCFMO typically accounted for this equipment through Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) between the entity and the Harris County Commissioner’s Court along with annual in-person inventory assessments. Complications with this methodology is cost associated with conducting annual in-person assessments and issues of equipment being exchanged with the manufacturer that is either lost, damaged, or stolen,” Reed notes.
He adds, “HCFMO looked to PSTrax to provide an electronic accountability program to allow for quarterly inventory statements and allow for updating of serial numbers for equipment replaced. This is also expected to minimize the financial impact for both HCFMO and the Department/Agency.”
Founded in 2009, PSTrax is a paperless cloud-based solution that streamlines equipment, inventory and apparatus inspections. The affordable program has proven easy to implement and maintain and is now used in departments and organizations coast to coast. Go to www.pstrax.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-330-6006 for more information.