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Asset management

10 August 2017

Danielle Rudd describes how County Durham Fire and Rescue Service has implemented specialist asset and test-management software to minimise whole-life costs of their fire appliances.

COUNTY DURHAM and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) has 15 fire stations and is governed by a separate statutory body, known as the Combined Fire Authority. CDDFRS is responsible for the fire and rescue service across the two unitary authority areas of County Durham and the borough of Darlington, serving a population of more than 620,000 people spread over almost 2,460 kilometres. Fire cover is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and all front-line fire appliances are equipped with state-of-the-art rescue equipment. In addition, there is a fleet of specialist appliances, which are used during road-traffic collisions, water rescues and other specialist rescues.  

Pro-Cloud BlueLight was the solution developed in partnership with CSS (Europe) Limited to suit the asset-management needs of the modern fire and rescue service. Right from initial discovery meetings with CDDFRS, every aspect of its service and requirements were taken on board. CDDFRS needed increased control of its assets and a full audit trail of tasks and tests completed, with safety and asset efficiency being at the forefront. A platform was duly configured to suit and the solution was initially implemented at three pilot stations. It is now being rolled out across the remaining 12 stations throughout the service. The modules and associated services recommended were:  

  • Asset Management: This included all barcoding and QR-code labelling for CDDFRS assets, stock movement management, including real-time usage and valuation, track and traceability through all business processes, and asset-maintenance scheduling and completion, with a full end-to-end audit trail;
  • Mobile Workforce: Asset tracking, maintenance and paperless manifesting of activities in or out of the field to technicians, with real-time completion and updates of activities;
  • Service hosting; 
  • End-to-end software implementation, training and support; and  
  • Associated hardware to support the usability of the platform

The solution provided for CDDFRS both manages and tracks its asset movements and associated activities. Pro-Cloud BlueLight has been developed to be totally configurable in order to meet the asset-management requirements of any fire and rescue service. Before ‘go live’, all CDDFRS assets were provided with durable barcoding labels that contained unique asset IDs for easy asset tracking. Managing assets within the platform is simple thanks to an asset tree that displays asset locations and sub locations, so, when necessary, assets can be found as quickly as possible.  

Within CDDFRS, asset and test management sometimes extends across other stations in the region. Consequently, the solution was adapted to ensure that assets can be linked, shared, monitored and transferred in real time. The platform's ‘roaming firefighters and rigs’ allows assets held by firefighters and on rigs to be transferred to new stations at the touch of a button, so there is no need for new test regenerations and time-consuming asset moves.   

A mobile application has been configured to send alerts to personnel when any testing or maintenance is required, ensuring assets are checked and safe to use at all times. All managerial staff at CDDFRS were provided with clear direction on how the system worked and how, as managers, they could track and trace assets across their workforce. During these sessions, managers and other authorised officers learn everything they need to know, including: viewing historical asset and workforce scheduling data, how to view and drill down within the task and testing board, assign tasks and set up new users. Once trained, the CDDFRS managerial staff cascaded the training they had received to staff at the three pilot stations. The training initially provided continues to be rolled out across the remaining 12 stations. CDDFRS also has access to 24/7 cloud-based customer support, via which the progress of any ticket raised can be easily followed through to resolution.  

Pro-Cloud BlueLight clearly meets the requirements of a modern and busy fire and rescue service, and provides a value-for-money solution. The CDDFRS project delivery team has since been working with its software-provider partner to develop the core Pro-Cloud system into a BlueLight solution that is tailored to meet its specific needs as a fire and rescue service. CDDFRS head of assurance and assets Andrew Hopkinson explains: "We are confident that the investment we have made, supported by the good relationship we have developed with CSS (Europe), will soon begin to pay for itself, as well as greatly improving visibility and assurance that we are getting the best out of our operational assets and minimising our whole-life costs. So much so, that we are already making plans to utilise the BlueLight system to manage other assets across our organisation.” 

Danielle Rudd is marketing manager for Creative Software Solutions. For more information, visit www.pro-cloud-bluelight.com