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A shelf full of RFID tagged tools is scanned in a single read at Mid & West Wales FRS.

Hi-speed multi-read RFID inventory management is now available in Asia

Redkite RFID hi-speed batch scan functions saves hours in inventory management Trials in Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom, have proven that in just a few seconds the Redkite RFID batch scan function will carry out an RFID inventory check, on a locker full of equipment in a single sweep of the RFID reader without the need to move any equipment. This isn’t just a ‘one-off’. It happens locker after locker and in very short time a complete vehicle will be checked.

Missing equipment is quickly identified. Surplus equipment is also noted. Without the new RFID batch scan functionality, sorting out equipment after a multi-pump incident can be very time consuming. With the new RFID batch scan function, identifying surplus equipment and identifying it is in its correct location is very straightforward.

The new Redkite RFID software not only checks the whereabouts of items of equipment, it also counts the different types of assets and quickly informs you of any shortfalls or surpluses helping to ensure operational readiness.

Because the software can switch between reading RFID tags and bar code labels simply by using different buttons on the reader, disposable, low cost items that have not been tagged with RFID tags can also be scanned.

The RFID solution will also work in single-scan mode and will save time recording periodic compliance checks, such as preventative maintenance and equipment safety checks. Unlike bar codes, RFID does not require ‘line of sight’ to read a tag so no time is wasted lining up the reader with the label! Larger items of equipment can be tagged with several RFID tags to save time ‘searching’ for the RFID tag or bar code label.

Andy McKelvie reading a shelf of assets on a fire appliance in Warwickshire FRS.

Andy McKelvie reading a shelf of assets on a fire appliance in Warwickshire FRS.

Inventory checklists, scheduled maintenance and safety check work lists are downloaded directly to the RFID reader wirelessly. A single click allows users to move from the work list to the work form where they can record the outcomes of any activities undertaken.

On recording the outcomes, the central asset register is updated instantly and in real-time with the inventory and compliance results so, if you do drop everything in an emergency – no problem – when you return, you just pick up where you left off. Real time updating of readers also means that many people can work on the same lists without fear of duplication.

This is what Andy McKelvie, who led the project on behalf of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service says about the Redkite solution.

“Multi-read RFID has been a hot topic across the fire service in recent years and for good reasons. What the Redkite System allows us to do is instantly record what equipment is on a fire appliance and write it to central asset register without the use of any paper based supporting material. This has two clear benefits: firstly, significant time savings for fire-fighters and; secondly, a clear snapshot of where equipment is located across the service at any point in time.

Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service approached the introduction of an RFID tracking system in three distinct phases. Phase one involved software development, proof of concept and a working prototype. Phase two involved the development of an e-learning package to allow implementation to be led by station based personnel.

Working in close collaboration with our colleagues in Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service we have faced numerous challenges to arrive at a working solution.

One of the greatest challenges we faced was the selection of suitable RFID tags which would work effectively in a fire appliance environment. Another challenge faced by the group has been the selection of suitable RFID readers which could be relied on to function in the types of environment where an inventory check might need to take place.

After scanning the RFID reader shows any items ‘missing’ or surplus with audible alerts.

After scanning the RFID reader shows any items ‘missing’ or surplus with audible alerts.

The solution we have arrived at is very easy to use. Once a fire-fighter has logged on to the Redkite system via the hand-held reader, they can quickly scan the location they are at and begin their inventory check by moving the reader over items of equipment at that location.

The Redkite system will then check the readings against a template and identify anything that is missing or has not been read. Surplus items of equipment are also identified.

Once the inventory for that location is complete, the user simply clicks finish to end the process.

A key benefit occurs when, following a major incident, equipment is often swapped between appliances. On return to the station (or at the scene of the incident) crews can do a quick RFID scan and all the swapped equipment will automatically by allocated to that appliance.”

PT Hydraulics, an Australian company based in Melbourne, are pleased to announce that they have recently become a reseller of the widely used Redkite Asset Management System produced by Redkite Systems.

Redkite Systems, the trading name for Performance Monitoring Systems Ltd, a UK based company incorporated in 1989, is the market leader for asset management solutions in the UK fire sector.

The Redkite Asset Management System was originally designed in consultation with UK based Warwickshire County Fire and Rescue Service in 1999 and became operational in March 2000. It was designed specifically to meet the special requirements of the fire sector.

The Redkite Asset Management System is now in use 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week in 13 county fire services in England and Wales and is used to manage inventory checks, scheduled preventative maintenance, safety checks and the management of defects / repairs on fire service equipment.

The Redkite Asset Management System is also used daily in all 67 commercial airport rescue and fire-fighting services in the United Kingdom including the Channel Islands.

The Redkite system has also been adopted by the airport and civil fire services of Gibraltar, St Helena Airport and numerous airports in the Middle East including Hamas International Airport, Doha and Bahrain International Airport.

Being web based, it can be accessed by authorised users from any location.

For more information, go to www.ptrescue.com.au

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David has been designing and supplying computer solutions since 1982 and his company has worked with numerous larger organisations, including British Railways Board, British Broadcasting Corporation and Scottish Power to help improve safety by developing and supplying effective competence and asset management solutions. His company has been providing electronic competence and asset management systems to the fire sector since 1998 following an invitation by a working group set up by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to develop an electronic recording system to help manage the newly introduced CAP 699 competence framework for UK ARFFS. A little while later his company introduced the first specialized fire service Redkite Asset Management System to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service. With almost all ARFFS in aerodromes throughout the British Isles and 40% of civil fire services in England and Wales now using his systems, his company is now beginning to successfully supply overseas fire services.

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