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MobileEyes improves effectiveness of building and fire inspection.

TradeMaster : 05 February, 2008  (New Product)
User friendly tablet PC based software enables fire inspectors to make more effective assessments of premises when performing inspections.
Selecting a vendor to provide fire inspection software and other tools to serve the complex needs of one of the country's top ranked fire departments has been a high priority, according to Chief Ray Perez, fire marshal for Hialeah, Florida. The Hialeah fire department was one of the first in the country to achieve the ISO Class 1 rating, and is currently one of 45 Class 1 fire departments, in a total of 45,000 in the United States.

"For the past five years, we've been seeking a product that we can customise and grow with us," said Chief Perez. "We were impressed with MobileEyes capabilities and confident about the company's commitment to cooperate with us." MobileEyes fire and building inspection software is supplied by TradeMaster.

Although Hialeah covers only 23 square miles, the fire prevention team serves one of the most densely populated regions of the country, including 29,000 building occupancies. A staff of 15 part- and full-time inspectors is in the field daily, conducting a total of 13,000 to 15,000 residential and commercial inspections each year. This is a dramatic increase over approximately 3,000 annual inspections conducted in 2001 when Chief Perez joined the department.
Included in the fire department's list of requirements were the ability to quickly record inspection results in the field, easy and convenient access to fire codes and standards, and immediate wireless transmission of all information to designated parties.

"We inspect everything from manufacturing facilities to sites with hazardous materials, 120 public and private schools, three university branches, two major malls as well as several public assembly and theater locations," said Chief Perez. He also described various types of inspections including plan reviews, system reviews and permitting for all types of events.

MobileEyes runs on a tablet PC and includes handwriting recognition capabilities that make note-taking as easy as writing on a yellow pad. It also includes the ability to easily access all the required fire inspection and building codes, instead of carrying unwieldy code books in the field.

TradeMaster also supplied the Hialeah fire department with SmartDraw, a program that aids inspectors in drawing pre-fire plans, using easy to read icons that indicate where shutoffs, utility connections, control panels and other items are located for better fire prevention.

MobileEyes Responder software was the third component selected by the Hialeah fire department. It is installed in truck or command vehicles to give fire fighters instant access to pre-plan and inspection information that they need onsite to increase safety and to be more effective.

"All of the units at our eight fire stations have laptops with the MobileEyes Responder icon ready to use," added Chief Perez.

He reported that nearly 30 people are undergoing training on the new systems which are scheduled for launch in early March. Chief Perez anticipates that other fire departments from across the country will be monitoring their progress and results.

MobileEyes is also providing the Hialeah Fire Department with a customised program that adds a billing feature to the inspection process. Hialeah has a history of invoicing building owners to help offset inspection costs. The new program automatically calculates an invoice based on the type of occupancy, square footage, number of inspectors and other criteria supplied by the department.

When questioned about future goals, Chief Perez wants to enhance life safety even more by having the fire inspection software interface with the building department's inspection software.

"Everything has been done manually since the 1920s," he added. "We're definitely going to kick up productivity another notch."

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