So, I just took over the position of Property Sergeant at my local FD. as it looks now, there is very minimal accountability for what we have. What are some ways that other departments have done their accountability? paper and pen? excel document? Specialized programs? lets discuss!

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What kind of gear and property are we talking about here? PPE?, rig tools/equipment?, Station equipment? Disposable/durable goods?


We have a combination of both pan and paper as well as computer program inventory (excel and Word).


The issue is as to what you mean by "Property Sergeant" and how vast the responsibility includes. However, from the sounds of things, you may want to start from the ground up, look at what you have now and go from there, incorporating your own system. A committee or couple others to help with this may be beneficial too.


For us when it comes to individual PPE, we are all issued the same stuff and each year there is a gear inspection where all members check their stuff over. The company officer and a Bat Chief are at the stations to sign off. While that may sound like micromanaging, the issue is about ensuring gear is good or replacements can be made readily. The battalion chiefs have access to the spare equipment and can get any stuff that may need replacing. Also with the bat chief there, there isn't much debate on if the gear can "make do". There is a PPE form with all gear issued and signed by the FF, and officer. This way the Div Chief, etc, can see what gear may wear out more, what gets replaced often, etc. It also serves as a tracking system to see when the gear was issued and to set up a gear rotation system.


For apparatus equipment, there is an inventory form of what should be on the rig. We mark the equipment off each rig with a color, to denote where the equipment came from. A nozzle, axe, halligan, adapters, etc will have say a small piece of color tape. This helps so after a call where a rig may be stripped by different crews, they should know where the equipment goes back. There is a rig inventory denoting equipment and rigs are checked over each Monday to ensure everything is there. There are fill in WORD documents and those get sent to the mechanic.


An issue we did have was that gear was taken from reserve rigs to replace equipment off front-line rigs, this led to reserve rigs not being ready to go. The solution was to have a rig inventory done prior to a crew taking a revserve rig and an officer signed off on the form ensuring equipment was there. Likewise if something was missing on a front-line rig, it was reported to a battalion chief so that a replacement could be sent to the station or if something had to be removed from a reserve rig, it was OK'd by a chief officer.


Disposable/durable goods are inventoried weekly. For EMS each Tuesday, the spare equipment is inventoried and an order form is sent in for needed equipment. Medications are checked daily and expired meds replaced, the checklist is good for the month and a new list printed off. Medications used during a call are replaced at the hospital, there are some medications at the stations, but not all meds. 


If equipment is needed like EMS supplies and can't wait for the next week or supplies used, we will get supplies downtown and there is a form to list what was taken from storage. Same thing for station equipment like cleaning supplies, office supplies, etc. We have a minimum quantity so crews know what should be on hand. Each week a form is filled out (Word document fill in form) and sent to the appropriate division.



We do have a computer program through the city that channels the inventory/accountability. It is called Issue Track and one just follows the menu. Is it a Fire, Police, DPW issue, etc. Is it Fire or EMS, is it disposable or durable goods, etc. One just puts a description in like "Weekly EMS supply list" or "Broken nozzle" etc. The form then goes to the Battalion Chiefs and forwarded on. It works out well, but we only had this system in the last couple years. Prior to that much inventory/accountability was done on fill in forms and forwarded on.



Since it sounds as though you are starting off, find what works for you. Get an initial inventory and account of what you have and set up a system. Look to have a check system in place that works for your call volume etc. If it is a weekly, monthly, quarterly, rig inventory try working it into a drill/meeting night. Have the equipment inventory in place so that after a call, the crew can ensure stuff is there.

Assuming that "Fire Gear" means PPE... We all know that that includes a lot of stuff...

Don't feel like the lone ranger dealing with your folks not properly focusing on the condition of their structure firefighting PPE. This has been dealt with and successfully by my department years ago.

Here's how it works... All firefighters have a supervisor. They are called "Fire Captain" and have the responsibility to supervise their personnel, and this includes inspections of their crews PPE. This is made possible because the Fire Captains' Battalion Chief basically told them to do so and followed it up with a written memo with a deadline for response. The accountability starts with the chain of command. It works.

With that said, be careful what you wish for. What level of repair will be considered tolerable and still safe without compromising your departments PPE policies. You also have to ensure that you have enough PPE stock to replace PPE that is damaged beyond repair. 

We saved a lot of money and kept PPE in service by doing our own in-house repairs using an industrial sewing machine by one of our firefighters who was sent to a PPE manufacturer approved training course for repairing PPE.

So before you go all out with a PPE inspection program, remember, the chain of command works and you first have to define in writing what you are looking for as far as damages that meet what ever criteria you come up with for defining acceptable verses not acceptable. For anything found to be unacceptable, be prepared to switch the gear out to protect both the firefighter and any potential liability or OSHA violations.

When you do come up with your accountability program, you might consider first having all personnel fill out a list that outlines what PPE they have. Once you do this, you can make your spreadsheet outlining standard issued gear and checklists to make the process as painless as possible.

Hope this helps you out brother, this is how I handled it when working as a Logistics Officer for my department. The big problem we encountered was the massive onslaught of PPE that overwhelmed us and the PPE budget. 



We use Excel for the simple stuff and Microsoft Access for the more complex database inventory stuff.


Every issued piece of gear is tracked in and out of our supply unit or training division - depending on the gear item and the purpose.  That gear is the responsibility of the person to whom it is issued until it is returned for replacement, repair, or the end of employment.


We also inspect and inventory our PPE at least once per year at the company level, with the company officer being responsible for the inspection and inventory update.

Basically as Property Sergeant, we are in charge of issuing PPE as well as pagers and radios. I wont talk bad about the person before me, but there appears to be no form of accountability for anything thats been issued, and no master list for anything that we have in stock. I was thinking a simple Excel document would work fine, but I didnt know if anyone else had any other ideas.
I agree with mike that is what we have.  I went threw the program picked out information we need and made a form.  I entered it in the program, but I still keep the slips.  Anytime someone gets anything out or puts something back a new form is made changed in the computer and the old form is thrown away.  If u would like to see what have let me know an I will email u one.

We have and use Firehouse for most equipment tracking but I found it way too clumsy so I use for our turnouts. Its a Globe product but works with any brand of PPE.  Its simple, free, and easy to navigate and it was a good solution to achieve NFPA 1851 compliance, makes OSHA happy too.


Also look at Advanced Protective Tracking (APT) via Morning Pride.  I believe it comes on a CD for install but you can use it to track things other than PPE as well.  I think the only way to get it is from an ISP (like MarKen PPE or ECMS) or a Morning Pride dealer.


Both support barcode use but serial numbers can be entered manually as well.  Another benefit is that they're web based so they can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. 

Depending on if your state goes by OSHA or L&I you might look to see if they have a sample form you can use if you need to make one up.

We developed a one page form that has each piece of gear provided on it, along with spaces alongside each item to note the date issued and the date returned.  For new members the issuing officer checks off each piece of gear issued along with the date, then both officer and member sign it to mutually acknowledge the transaction.

Same thing, only in reverse, for members resigning from the department.  Both officer and member sign the form to agree that all gear was returned in good condition.

A separate Excel database has been started for turnout gear; manufacturer, date of manufacturer, and shell/liner/barrier materials are noted.  Boot sizes and manufacturer are also documented.

You might be able to start something similar during your annual gear inspection, starting with pen and paper and afterward entering the data into the computer.  It won't be as precise as having a precise accounting of everything that has been issued in the past but it will be way better than nothing. 

We use Firehouse but I recommend using GLobes PPE tracker. It's free!

We have to sign off on all gear issues to us. Just a simple  spreadsheet with all equipment issued, name, date, and place to sign. When we get something new, like our recently purchased forestry gear, a new sheet is made and kept in our file. When someone leaves, the sheets are pulled and returned property is checked to make sure it is all accounted for. Old school, yes, but it works.

I was the deputy chief in Boulder and retired in 2013.  I now work as a consultant to PSTrax.  Check it out at  This system is simple but will track all of your checks on equipment, inventories, and the rigs themselves. 

David Cain


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