Norfolk Fire and Rescue

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service - FloSuite Case Study

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service uses FloSuite to automate business processes, including hydrants management, PPE issuing and asset tracking, and medical reminders


UK Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) are currently making significant strategic changes through ambitious business transformation programmes, which are being deployed by individual Services and also collaboratively.

It is now widely recognised that an important enabler for such programmes is the adoption of IT solutions which can provide a suitable framework to manage less standardised processes, and which will allow integration and data sharing with external systems and partner FRSs.

FloSuite, working in harmony with the FireWatch product, places Norfolk in a strong position to achieve business efficiencies through the automation of manual processes 

The Challenge

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) wanted a comprehensive enterprise Business Process Management platform to enable replacement of paper-based, manual, or inefficient processes with new Web-based solutions.

In light of the high-risk working environment for FRSs, the ability to support risk management - i.e. retaining and improving visibility of processes, outstanding tasks and quality of data - was also viewed as a critical requirement.

In addition, Norfolk wanted to, when required, be able to support solution integration with FireWatch® ERM, and other systems, and provide a Web-based, process-optimised user experience that would be user-friendly for both Fire Fighters and Managers.

Infographics has worked closely with NFRS on the first FloSuite projects to help provide skills transfer and minimise timescales. Two comprehensive solutions were configured: Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Issuing and Hydrants Management. Norfolk has also developed a solution for Medical Reminders.

There were a number of key factors that influenced NFRS in the selection of FloSuite® to deliver these solutions:

  • FloSuite offered the flexibility of providing a range of targeted solutions focused on Fire and Rescue Service-specific requirements, as well as a generic platform for deployment of additional business processes
  • Solutions can be developed, and later evolved, to manage business change using FloSuite's Microsoft® Visio-encapsulated configuration environment. (This includes facilities for Web form design, process modelling, business rules, document/email outputs, actors and other elements)
  • FloSuite's Enterprise Application Integration and 'Middleware' capabilities could enable Norfolk FRS to integrate processes and solutions with external systems
  • FloSuite's Web-based user interface is easy to understand and use by all types of staff, with minimal training required
  • FloSuite can integrate closely with familiar Microsoft offerings, including Microsoft Office®, Exchange®/Outlook® and SharePoint®

The Results

Working with Infographics, Norfolk FRS has developed new Web-delivered business process management solutions aimed at eliminating previously paper-based processes or legacy systems, and increasing efficiency.

Chris Ferris, ICT Manager, Norfolk Fire and Rescue, said:

"FloSuite, working in harmony with the FireWatch product, places Norfolk in a strong position to achieve business efficiencies through the automation of many manual processes, and to seamlessly pass data to and from external systems in near real-time."  

Hydrants Management - Case Management Solution:

Hydrants Management is a targeted Case Management solution delivered using the FloSuite/FloCase framework. It provides a solution for managing and maintaining the water hydrants that fall within the remit of NFRS.

It allows a variety of hydrant-related job types to be created, assigned and reported on via an easy-to-use case console, and streamlines the management and co-ordination of associated people, tasks, resources and data.

Some of the functions provided by the hydrants solution include:

  • Instigate and record routine/private inspections of hydrants
  • Record defect details
  • Assess, move and reconnect existing hydrants
  • Install and monitor mains replacements
  • Create new hydrants
  • Edit existing hydrant details (location, status, inspection records, etc.)
  • Create/manage orders linked to jobs
  • Support new schemes/developments
  • Email job details/tasks to technicians
  • Manage contacts/relationships with partner organisations
  • Manage payment processes for completed works
  • Integrate with GIS for hydrant mapping
  • Generate and manage documents
  • Search system for jobs/contacts
  • Configure hydrants system user roles and access rights

Trish Bond, Water Officer at Norfolk Fire & Rescue, believes the key benefits realised from her department's FloSuite deployment will include support for: risk-based inspection planning, route planning, mobile working, removal of excess hydrants, and improved data, information and accuracy.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and Asset Tracking Workflows:

FloSuite was also used to develop workflows that would automate the issuing and management of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to fire fighters.

The system helps Norfolk to track the allocation and status of uniforms, footwear, breathing apparatus, helmets, gloves, etc., and is linked to a barcode scanning system, enabling equipment to be easily recorded within the database.

Using the PPE and asset tracking solution:

  • Items can be scanned in and checked out using barcode reader
  • Asset availability data is maintained in a searchable inventory (which is also integrated with FireWatch Asset Management)
  • Equipment status and condition are recorded against each item
  • An audit trail can be maintained against each PPE, including issue date, recipient and condition
  • Fire Fighters can carry out station-end inspection of their own kit and report any defects to the PPE team
  • Minimum stock levels can be configured for each product type - these are then monitored and the PPE team is informed if stock levels fall below the minimum value

Medical Reminders

Additionally, Norfolk FRS' own internal resource has subsequently deployed processes for medical reminders, which are targeted at reducing the number of missed appointments that previously occurred. 

Norfolk FRS intends to deploy a number of additional, complementary business processes using the FloSuite platform in future.

Key benefits include:

  • Support for hydrant inspections on a risk basis, saving technicians time and resources, and allowing time to undertake private hydrant inspection (which is income-generating)

  • Route planning (saving time and resources)

  • Support for mobile working

  • Help to identify and establish a protocol for the removal of excess numbers of hydrants

  • Improve and increase data, information and accuracy