Fire departments are required to conduct annual inspections of buildings within their jurisdiction. This has historically been a laborious paper based task. Inspections are often done by all firefighters during their downtime. The few mobile options we have seen to date are poorly designed apps which only work on Windows tablets. We’ve been investigating ways to improve the automation of fire building inspections using a simple, intuitive mobile app.

Automating Annual Building Fire Inspections

An ArcGIS map based mobile app for use on a smartphone or tablet is what we have been building to automate the fire building inspection process. The workflow is as follows:

  1. Users login the app on their smartphone or tablet.
  2. A map is then loaded. Buildings are marked by address points. The map interface includes an address search tool to help firefighters locate a building.

3. The points representing buildings are colored based on inspection status. The Legend screen explains the point color status.

4. The Inspection’s Due screen allows users to change the maps symbols from status (the default, as shown above) to inspection’s due. Map points are recolored based on:

  • Those overdue for inspection (based on the ‘next inspection’ data field)
  • Inspection due
  • Inspection not due

5. Tapping a building (point) on the map opens a full screen form showing information about the building.

6. The form contains 2 options:

  • Create Inspection
  • Show History

7. Create Inspection – Selecting the Create Inspection button opens a new form which allows users to enter data about an inspection. There are multiple fields, some required others optional. Pre-populated drop downs allow users to quickly select an option. The information here can be configured.

8. Since a single address can have multiple businesses within, the Business Name field has a drop down which is automatically populated with the businesses known at that location. A user simply needs to select the business name from this drop down. The license number is included with the business name:

If there are no licensing at the address, no businesses will be listed in the drop down. The ‘No License’ option will be the only option in the drop down.

9. Users have an option to indicate License violation (No/Yes). If yes is indicated this will automatically generate an email sent to the the Business License Department when the user hits the Inspection Complete button.

10. Users have an option to indicate Fire Code violation (No/Yes).  A PDF is generated with business information and specific IFC code violations (if any). This is will automatically emailed to a designated staff member and licensee or building owner (if no licenses) when the user hits the Inspection Complete button.

11. When the user hits the Inspection Complete button, the inspection information is saved as a related record to the inspections point layer.

12. Show History – This option provides a list of historic inspections conducted against this building. The initial screen shows the inspections list:

13. Tapping one of the dates in the list opens the inspection

14. Future development:

  • Relating the address points to business license information from Permitting Departments.
  • Tracking/identification/querying of inspection due dates.

The mobile app has been designed to work on any smartphone: Apple, Android or Windows.

Author: WebMapSolutions Staff

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