Knowing how our gear moves around is at least half the battle
For the second time in the past year, one of our members went looking for an IV box and a drug box that were supposed to be in secure storage, and found them missing. Notifications were made, searches were conducted, the police were called, reports were filed, and a general sense of anxiety prevailed. This is a big deal. We were required to notify state authorities. It damages our reputation and could have other far-reaching consequences.
Part of the problem was that we had no good way to immediately determine the ID numbers of the boxes that were believed to be missing. In fact, we only knew the IV and drug boxes were there in the first place because we were told so. There was no tangible evidence available to support the claim.
Addressing a deficiency
The hospitals at least have paper logs where we enter the ID numbers of boxes that we are turning in, and boxes we are taking. We must duplicate this system in our own storage areas. And there are other important and expensive things that we typically put into secure storage along with IV and drug boxes. Whatever logging system we use should take these other items into account too.
A way forward
Consequently, I have received approval to implement a Department-standard Gear Accountability Log system. Sample materials are attached for your review. After evaluating any comments you send me, I will place an order for custom-made log books, and we will deliver these log books to you. The plan is to keep one of these log books in every one of the secure storage cabinets that we use to store IV and drug boxes and other important items. We will publish materials to train all members how to use the log books and why accurate logging is important. The expectation will be that every time an IV box, drug box, or other important item moves into or out of the storage area, the person making the move will make a new entry in the log book. Squads will have to make sure a working pen is available. The Department will provide replacement log books when one gets filled up.
The process I'm proposing will add a step to the sequence that our members are using to move important gear into and out of storage. Whereas right now they just "grab and stow" or "grab and go", they will soon have to stop; make a log entry; then continue. It's a bit of a hassle, but we're not taking this lightly. Think about the alternative. Think about losing track of:
- Controlled substances such as morphine and fentanyl
- A LifePak 15
- An EMR
- A portable radio
- A LUCAS device
- A video laryngoscope