There was a good article in this month's JEMS magazine about ambulance stocking and restocking that seems to work well for large agencies. My question is about what other small scale agencies do or use to curtail the similar and age old problem of overstocking or failing to restock? We are a service that runs 2 full-time ambulances and has 2 additional ambulances available for additional calls or back-up. Any advice or ideas would be appreciated on things that work well or what hasn't worked for your service. I like the bin system that was described in the magazine but I'm not sure it would be feasible for a smaller system.

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Good luck--I have several large bald spots (only kidding) that result from this exact problem in a small volunteer service.  Some things that help: 

-requiring a  checklist signed by the person that completed it.

-finding a pharmacy less than a mile away that will deal with us as a tax exempt entity and sell to us at cost.  (One of the problems I had with mail order companies is that typically you get stuff with short expiration dates).  At a local pharmacy where you are standing there, you can say, smiling, "I need a better date," and have them order it.

-finding someone who has time to deal, often, with supplies, so you don't have to order a case of something that all expires before you use it.  Example-- a case of hot packs expire before we use them.  Can you just keep 4 on the shelf and have crew call when they place the last on the truck, then you know you have a day or two to get them?  Obviously this person needs to either have a credit card or be financially OK to pay for things up front and be reimbursed.  If you choose the latter, then the means to reimburse them promptly.

-organized well labeled storage of some type so you know what your inventory is at all times.

 

      I have worked a couple of different services an it is a chronic problem, one of the things we have started at our fire department and the private service, is that we have taged cabinets, with limited equipment for use. when they are used the cabinet is opened  to acess replacements, at the end of each shift a cabinet inventory and limited equipment is replaced  and retaged with a singnature replacement sheet for that unit, an inventory is done at the begining of every shift,

If you fail to inventory, and or replace equipment a verbal warning is given, 2nd time is a wright up, 3rd time is suppention, 4th time you are relaved of your job. It dose seem to help but you will always have those who just don't care and make's it hard for everyone else.

I agree on both points . The best way is to tag cabnots making checking off you truck quick 
And by foing it at the start of your shift will ensure you have your truck stocked. its the only system that i have seen that somewhat works. 

Leonard Zierler said:

      I have worked a couple of different services an it is a chronic problem, one of the things we have started at our fire department and the private service, is that we have taged cabinets, with limited equipment for use. when they are used the cabinet is opened  to acess replacements, at the end of each shift a cabinet inventory and limited equipment is replaced  and retaged with a singnature replacement sheet for that unit, an inventory is done at the begining of every shift,

If you fail to inventory, and or replace equipment a verbal warning is given, 2nd time is a wright up, 3rd time is suppention, 4th time you are relaved of your job. It dose seem to help but you will always have those who just don't care and make's it hard for everyone else.

We have this problem also. We have a department very similar to your size. I have volunteered for many years plus i am also paid. It is very tough dealing with volunteers because it may come down to losing them. Some just don't take the responsibilty. Others do a great job. As a paid department we are going back to daily check sheets. We got away from that because it's the same ole people plus the bins have quantities on them. However that doesn't keep people from setting up the ambulance as if they were going to respond to a mass cassualty on every call. We have 4 ambulances. 2 primary and two back up along with 4 shifts. At the end of the month each shift is responsible for an ambulance. "A" shift is responsible for ambulance 1, etc. End of the month the crews are to change drugs that are to expire plus whatever else has a date. Quantities along with that. We have a check sheet and have to sign it. We still have a bigger problem of the upper brass not checking for discrepancies.

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