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Reducing Labor in Your Fire Inspection Program

3Di Systems | August 17, 2023

5 Minute Read

Fire marshals face a daunting dilemma: higher demands for fire safety, yet increasingly strained resources to manage risk in the community. Worse still, traditional inspection methods are inefficient, often taking days to process from start to finish.

These inefficiencies limit inspection capacity and potentially compromise public safety, such as from reduced compliance. Thankfully, modern fire inspection solutions offer a route to drastically reduce labor costs and speed up workflows from start to finish. By streamlining every stage of the inspection process and automating routine tasks, today’s inspection technology frees up departments to focus on what truly matters: reducing community risk.

Planning and Scheduling

The initiation of the fire inspection process begins with meticulous planning and scheduling. With the right fire inspection solution, this task can be transformed from a labor-intensive chore into a streamlined, efficient process. The software can provide a comprehensive overview of all scheduled inspections, allowing you to visualize your team's workload and distribute tasks evenly. 

For instance, the software's custom scheduling functionality can enable you to assign inspections based on geographical location, reducing travel time and increasing the number of inspections that can be completed in a day. It can also provide real-time visibility of inspector availability, ensuring that inspections are evenly distributed and preventing over-scheduling.

Moreover, the ability to easily assign inspectors to tasks with a simple drag-and-drop interface can save considerable time compared to traditional manual scheduling methods. This not only reduces the labor involved in planning and scheduling but also allows inspectors to focus more on the inspection process itself, enhancing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your fire inspection program.

Pre-Inspection Review

With a comprehensive fire inspection solution, pre-inspection review can be conducted more efficiently and effectively, helping inspectors understand the history of the site, anticipate potential problem areas, and prepare for the inspection. 

Inspection software can provide a centralized system for data management, eliminating the need to sift through multiple databases or physical files. All relevant data, including previous inspection reports, corrective actions taken, and any noted violations, can be easily accessed in one place. This not only saves time but also ensures that no critical information is overlooked.

Furthermore, the software can highlight trends or recurring issues at a particular site, providing valuable insights that can guide the inspection process. For instance, if a specific type of violation has been noted multiple times in the past, the inspector can pay extra attention to this area during the inspection. This not only reduces the labor involved in the pre-inspection review but also ensures a more targeted and effective inspection.

On-Site Inspection and Documentation

Next comes time to visit the site to examine the premises for fire hazards, check the proper functioning of fire safety equipment, and ensure compliance with fire safety regulations. With the right fire inspection solution, this process can be significantly streamlined.

For instance, good inspection software will provide a mobile application that allows inspectors to work offline from the field. This means that inspectors can enter data directly into the system while conducting the inspection, eliminating the need for redundant data entry later. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of inaccuracies that can occur when data is transcribed from handwritten notes to a digital system.

Moreover, a mobile inspection app can provide a checklist of inspection criteria, ensuring that no critical areas are overlooked. It can also allow inspectors to take pictures or videos during the inspection, providing visual evidence of any violations or areas of concern. This not only reduces the labor involved in the on-site inspection but also ensures a more thorough and accurate inspection.

With software that can automatically categorize and prioritize findings based on predefined criteria (such as the severity of the violation or the risk it poses to fire safety), you can ensure critical issues are promptly addressed.

Generating Inspection Reports

After the inspection, the inspector needs to generate a comprehensive report detailing their findings — but this doesn’t have to be tedious. The right inspection solution can automatically generate inspection reports based on the data gathered during the inspection.

This eliminates the need for inspectors to manually compile and format the report, saving considerable time and effort. It ensures that the report follows a consistent format, enhancing its readability and professionalism.

Having this digital format means you can automatically calculate and include metrics such as the number of violations found, the severity of each violation, and the time taken to complete the inspection — data which can be applied to improve your processes across the board. This not only speeds up inspections, but makes a fire marshal’s job easier.

Review and Approval

With a comprehensive fire inspection solution, this review and approval process can be significantly streamlined. Our inspection solution on 3Di Engage for instance provides a collaborative platform for review, allowing supervisors to easily access the reports, check them for accuracy, and approve them directly on the platform.

This eliminates the need for physical paperwork, reducing the time and effort involved in the review process. The software can also provide tools for annotating the report, allowing supervisors to easily provide feedback or request additional information.

Moreover, the software can automate the approval process, sending notifications to the relevant officials when a report is ready for review and tracking the status of the review process. This not only reduces the labor involved in the review and approval process but also ensures that reports are reviewed in a timely manner, speeding up the overall inspection process.

Communication with Property Owner/Manager

Once the inspection report is approved, it needs to be communicated to the property owner or manager. They need to be informed of the results of the inspection, any violations found, and the corrective actions they need to take.

The right fire inspection solution can provide a customer portal where property owners or managers can access the inspection reports. This reduces reliance on physical mail and email, cutting down the time and effort involved in communicating the results. With tools for property owners or managers to communicate with the fire department, they can ask questions, provide updates on corrective actions, or request additional inspections. 

The communication process becomes easier too, as you can send notifications to property owners or managers when a new report is available and track their acknowledgment of the report. This not only reduces the labor involved in communicating with property owners or managers but also ensures that they are promptly informed of the results of the inspection.

Corrective Action

Once the property owner or manager has been informed of the results of the inspection, they need to take the necessary corrective actions to rectify any violations or areas of concern noted in the inspection report. When we set fire departments up with our inspection solution, one thing they especially like is that the online portal has payment capabilities, which allows residents to pay fees or fines as needed. This also enables easier cost recovery. 

To avoid making corrective action necessary, 3Di Engage can automate the follow-up process, sending reminders to property owners or managers about upcoming deadlines for corrective actions and sending notifications to inspectors when a follow-up inspection is needed.

Follow-Up Inspection

Sometimes a second visit is necessary. Automatically schedule follow-up inspections based on the severity of the violations and the estimated time for corrective actions. This eliminates the need for manual scheduling, reducing the time and effort involved in the follow-up process. The software can also provide tools for comparing the results of the follow-up inspection with the original inspection, allowing you to easily assess the effectiveness of the corrective actions.

Data Management

Finally, all inspection data, reports, and other related information need to be stored and managed. This data is crucial for future inspections, trend analysis, and regulatory reporting.  

For instance, inspection software gives you a centralized system for data management, ensuring that all relevant data is easily accessible and securely stored. This eliminates the need for multiple databases or physical files, reducing the time and effort involved in data management. With the mobile inspection solution on 3Di Engage, all offline inspection data is uploaded to the central dashboard instantly as soon as inspectors have an internet connection.

Reducing Labor in Your Fire Inspection Program

Ready to reinvent your fire inspection process? 3Di Engage offers a fire inspection solution to drastically reduce labor and enhance efficiency at every stage of the process.

From planning and scheduling to data management, 3Di Engage speeds up your operations and cuts your workload substantially. Don't just take our word for it — experience the difference firsthand. Book a demo today and see how to transform your fire inspection program.