WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, RFID TECHNOLOGY HEADS OUT TO THE RESCUE
RFID technology proves its worth tracking assets used for disaster relief inspections
Neither tornadoes, floods nor storms can keep the Partnership for Response and Recovery (PaRR) Inspections or its employees from doing their job: In fact, measuring the damages inflicted by these natural disasters is all in a day’s work for staff of this organization, a joint venture of Dewberry & Davis, LLC, and URS Corporation. However, PaRR’s efforts to create, distribute and return the kits used by its field inspectors involve complicated logistics. The firm stores 65,000 pieces of equipment which are assembled into 6,000 inspection kits and customized for different types of natural disasters. Could RFID technology help PaRR streamline critical operational processes, turning mission impossible into just another routine warehouse task?
PaRR worked with Entigral Systems to deploy an automated system, AssetTrax, which uses handheld and fixed readers, software and DogBone™ UHF RFID tags to uniquely identify every item in its inventory and link items to their kits, pallets and storage locations at the organization’s Winchester, Virginia, warehouse. In addition, the system adds another level of security and visibility to asset tracking by using fixed RFID readers to scan inspectors’ RFID-tagged ID badges when they pick up kits at the firm’s field offices in Alabama and North Carolina and then again when they return them.
The RFID-enabled asset tracking system deployed by Entigral Systems and SMARTRAC received a real-life test when tornadoes, storms and floods struck the southeastern United States. More than 400 inspectors used RFID-tagged equipment, including hardened laptop computers, cameras, batteries, battery chargers and other items, to evaluate damaged homes and businesses in Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The workers gathered data and photographic evidence to electronically file claims on victims’ behalf to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With RFID technology lending a helping hand, it’s clear that recovering from natural disasters just got a little bit easier.