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In the heat of the moment: 5 ways rugged tablets help fire inspectors

Fire inspectors and investigators have extremely demanding jobs. The role requires a depth of technical knowledge, often involves working evenings, weekends and holidays and puts inspectors at risk of exposure to smoke, fumes and other hazardous agents. Increasingly, inspectors are also firefighters and must fit their inspection work around emergency callouts and other duties.

During routine visits, inspectors have to be meticulous in their risk assessments: reviewing hazardous material storage, the state of fire suppression equipment on-site, access to fire exits and myriad other factors. They are responsible for recording code violations and creating detailed reports supplemented with photos or videos. In fire scene investigations, they must complete NFIRS reports that document the damage, report injuries or deaths and identify potential causes.

As on-the-go knowledge workers, fire inspectors can benefit greatly from mobile devices and applications. Rugged tablets combined with intuitive cloud-based platforms from the likes of City Reporter, Fire Lab and ImageTrend help inspectors work more efficiently, managing their busy schedules and filing reports faster and with improved detail.

The Right Mobile Device for Fire Inspectors

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab Active Pro provides an ideal tool for fire inspectors, both in the field and back at the station. Tested against military specifications for durability, the Galaxy Tab Active Pro features a bright 10.1-in. touchscreen, a S Pen stylus for easy note-taking and a high-resolution camera — in a single device that weighs less than 1.5-lbs. Back at the office, it can connect to a monitor, external keyboard and mouse to power a complete desktop experience, thanks to Samsung’s innovative DeX platform.

Here are five ways the Galaxy Tab Active Pro can help fire inspectors on the job:

1. It Stands Up to Anything

The rugged Galaxy Tab Active Pro tablet can stand up to the toughest conditions fire inspectors face on the job, whether they’re checking properties for code compliance or investigating potential causes at a fire scene.

The Galaxy Tab Active Pro has passed 21 tests developed by the U.S. Department of Defense — tests that determine whether products are tough enough for military use. Tests include dropping the tablet 26 times from a height of 5-ft. and exposing it to extreme temperatures, ranging from −40 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Complying with the IP68 standard (as defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission) means the Galaxy Tab Active Pro can handle dust, dirt and sand and function 1.5-m. (5-ft.) underwater for up to 30 minutes.

2. It Supports Paperless Workflows

Fire inspections involve a lot of forms and paperwork, and the work is ripe for the kind of workflow enhancements that end-to-end digital technology can enable. By moving inspection forms and reports to a mobile device such as the Galaxy Tab Active Pro, agencies can collect information and populate forms while in the field.

Paperless workflows eliminate time-consuming steps such as filing and managing paper forms. Information can be shared and retrieved instantly without spending time storing, printing, collating and mailing. Images and videos can be attached to files, which can reduce time and money spent on printing images.

The Galaxy Tab Active Pro is equipped with the S Pen stylus, which works well with electronic forms and enables note-taking even while wearing gloves. Its 13MP front-facing camera can shoot all the high-resolution photos and videos a fire inspector could need, thanks to its 64GB of onboard storage and a microSD slot for expanding storage by up to 512GB.

3. It Keeps You Connected and Informed

Fire inspectors work from everywhere and may visit numerous sites in a single day. The LTE connectivity available on the Galaxy Tab Active Pro enables inspectors to work effectively from any location that has cellular service. They can stay connected to agency applications and online resources, and they can field queries and file reports and documents. When they work in areas with poor coverage, they can take notes on the device and upload them when they are back in cellular range.

4. You Can Work All Day Without Recharging

The Galaxy Tab Active Pro’s long-life battery runs up to 15 hours per charge. If a fire inspector stays on-site past this point, no problem. The tablet’s battery can be swapped out for a fresh one in just a few seconds. No longer are fire inspectors at the mercy of their power supplies.

5. It Replaces Other Devices

The Galaxy Tab Active Pro is compatible with Samsung DeX, which means it can connect easily to a monitor, keyboard and mouse to enable a full desktop experience. Samsung works with many software providers to ensure their applications are optimized for DeX, which allows fire inspectors to use the Galaxy Tab Active Pro in every work setting — including the office — and consolidate all their work on one device. Given the tight budget constraints many fire services face, device consolidation can be an important source of cost savings.

Learn more about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active Pro. Or discover how the Corona Fire Department is using Samsung tablets in the field for improved situational awareness and data sharing.

James Careless

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James Careless

James Careless is an award-winning freelance writer who covers EMS, fire and police public safety communications. He has contributed to Corrections1, EMS World, Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, Fire Chief, FireRescue1, Law and Order and Police1 magazines; among others. Careless has produced content for NBC-TV, NPR (radio), and CBC Radio/TV.

View more posts by James Careless