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PPE inspection system ensures firefighters are fully equipped

ballyclare logo

ballyclare logo
Ballyclare designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance personal protective equipment (PPE) and workwear.

Based in Stockport in the UK, the company has a history of developing and servicing specialist clothing for the emergency services and now supplies PPE to other sectors including the military, rail, oil and gas, power and aviation. Ballyclare offers an after-sales service, as well as laundry services and a complete managed service.

Equipment needs regular inspections to ensure items continue to meet the safety requirements. To support the managed service it provides for fire services around the UK, and help it deliver inspections, Ballyclare chose CoreRFID’s CheckedOK solution.

Ballyclare provides PPE to over 20,000 UK firefighters. Its cared for by CoreRFID's PPE Inspection Software.

“CoreRFID helped us to introduce the CheckedOK system alongside our existing applications. It uses our existing labelling systems and updates our management systems automatically.”

– John Leonard, IT Director, Ballyclare Ltd.

Inspection, replacement and repair

To assist with the inspection, repair, life-cycle management and replacement of garments, Ballyclare had already introduced a system of barcoding. Although CheckedOK is often used with RFID tags, it works equally well with barcode identification.

Ballyclare realised that it could offer an improved service to their customers and save costs in recording the results of garment inspections.

As part of their managed service offering, Ballyclare agree an inspection regime with clients to ensure that garments are checked at the right intervals and retired at the end of their design life. Since the system was first introduced over 450,000 inspections have been carried out by Ballyclare staff.

The CheckedOK mobile app runs on a mobile phone or tablet that can read the barcode on a garment. The app identifies the type of garment being examined and offers the inspector a series of checkpoints specific to that garment type. The results of the inspection are recorded and sent to a central database. The PPE inspection software system is designed so that most inspections can be recorded with a series of clicks rather than needing text to be typed in. This has proved popular with the inspecting staff as the system is easy and quick to use.

If a garment is seen to be damaged, staff can take pictures of the damage using the mobile or tablet, share them with client and quickly agree the need for a replacement.

PPE inspection software

Using the PPE inspection software, data is collected on the equipment being monitored which includes firefighter outfits, as well as items such as helmets, fire-hoods, gloves and boots.

Information collected from inspections is stored in the CoreRFID database. As the system is cloud-based, it automatically updates Ballyclare’s management systems without the need to re-key data. It can also be shared with clients using the Ballyclare ExtraServe online system.

One feature of particular value to Ballyclare and its clients has been the use of the wearer allocation function, which makes it possible for Ballyclare and the client to know exactly which items are available at which location, and also that a wearer’s specific items are available as a complete set. As a result, equipment shortfalls at a site can be quickly identified and rectified by the supply of new items that are tailored to the individual whose items need to be replaced.

Because Ballyclare offers local stock holding facilities, it is able to ensure safety clothing can be supplied quickly and, where required, can offer a rapid response service with a 24/7 emergency hotline. Speeding and simplifying the inspection process means that Ballyclare can replace items more swiftly, ensuring firefighters are always fully equipped.