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Ambulance service speeds up tracking of life-saving equipment

An ambulance service that receives a 999 call every 40 seconds has improved the tracking system of its life-saving kit.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) operates 650 emergency vehicles and each carries vital equipment such as defibrillators.

The RFID system, upgraded to operate under the Android-based platform, enables EMAS to improve equipment monitoring, maintenance and compliance procedures.

The upgrade was carried out by specialist software firm CoreRFID which installed the original RFID system five years ago, replacing a manual tracking system.

The RFID solution uses electronic tags attached to each piece of kit which are scanned by special readers. These detect the tags from up to 2m away without needing a line of sight. The information, such as serial numbers, is then automatically downloaded to the EMAS’ database, which keeps the updated the team on the kits’ last location and condition.

EMAS’ fleet of ambulances, fast response cars and urgent care vehicles received over one million emergency and urgent calls last year from the region’s five million residents.

Steve Farnworth, general manager at EMAS says: ‘My team needs to be able to find kit and know it’s safe for patient use, having passed all compliance tests. We manage 650 vehicles across six counties, each carrying several pieces of vital life-saving equipment. The RFID system assists us in monitoring this equipment efficiently and effectively.’

Richard Harrison technical sales director at CoreRFID says: ‘RFID enables emergency service teams to accurately track and improve procedures with less resource needed than manual systems. While RFID is an established solution, emergency services can upgrade their systems to meet new challenges and take advantage of improved software and readers becoming available.’

CoreRFID has provided tracking solutions to the NHS, such as Addenbrookes Hospital, and Medical Gas Solutions which supplies oxygen and nitronox gas cylinders to NHS trusts, ambulance and fire services.