Want a Mobile Fire Safety Inspection App? Ask These Questions First

By katie simpson on December 17, 2014
Tags: Data Collection

Noise SignThere's an app for everything today: weather, stocks, even one word conversation. So of course there are apps now that claim to make your inspections, like your fire sprinkler checklist faster and easier.

But how do you know the time and money spent on adjusting to a new mobile app is worth it? Here are a few ways to decide:

How easy is it to share?

You collect information for a reason: to prove you are up to code. With paper, you can share it, but it takes time, such as data entry, faxes, or even days in the mail.

Collecting information on a mobile app can look cool, but how easy is it to share or put into your own database? If it requires ten steps andfancy tricks, you'll feel more frustrated than ever with that mobile app!

Some apps allow you to share that information instantly via email. Do they have cloud storage? How easy is it to integrate into your own systems?

Mobile apps should help you share and store that information more quickly and easily than paper, not the other way around.

How accurate is the information you collect?

We all know paper inspections have issues. Sometimes they come back missing critical information. Perhaps you have an inspector with terrible handwriting. Or you could struggle like so many with forms that just never make it back to the office.

No matter what the reason is: errors come into your system. In fire safety, that's a huge compliance risk. 

If you're thinking about a mobile app switch. Some things you may want to keep in mind include:

  • Can you make fields required?

    Required fields allow you to ensure that every inspection is filled out properly. An inspector may skip a field, but if it's required, the mobile app won't allow him to submit the form.

  • Can you autopopulate fields?

    Whether it's an automatic time and date stamp, or barcode scan to quickly look up your equipment, autopopulate functions  can reduce your errors, and make your inspections faster.

  • Can you take a photo?

    Sure someone can say a piece of equipment is up to code, but do you have any visual proof? Great mobile apps will allow you to take photos of equipment inside your inspection. Visual proof to back up your inspectors every time.

Paper inspections always come back with errors. When going mobile, think about the errors your organization has struggled with in the past.  You want to be sure that the mobile app you choose reduces as much human error as possible. 

Can it evolve with your business?

Fire safety isn't going away, but the information in your inspections change. Perhaps you start inspecting a new type of business. Maybe the regulations change. For whatever reason, change is always on your horizon.

Before you choose a mobile app, ask about updates to your mobile fire inspections. Will you be able to make changes quickly? Will it cost you anything? How easy is it to send out an updated app to your users?

If you're starting to see fees, and slow update times, it's time to pause. Updating paper inspections takes time, but your company deserves a mobile app that helps you evolve and deal with change, not holding you back. 

Conclusion

Mobile technology is becoming more ingrained in business every year. If you're thinking about the switch to a fire safety mobile inspection, you need to ask tough questions. 

Will it collect accurate information? Can this mobile app share your inspections quickly and easily? Will it be able to evolve with you're business? These are just a few questions to ask before you commit. 

By asking these questions, you'll ensure that you find the best mobile app fit for your business.

Want more strategic insight?

These questions are just the beginning of strategic thinking for mobile apps. Learn more in our new ebook:

Fire Truck banner

 

Featured photo credit: seanmasn via photopin cc