In March 2012, the Guam Fire Department began to bill citizens for ambulance transports. This move provided the department with much needed funding, which allowed managers to invest in providing better service to the community. The change, however, also required the agency to move beyond its pen-and-paper record-keeping tradition and creating a digital patient care reporting system.

In order to effectively make the switch, the department required mobile technology that was not only proficient, but also dependable on an island with extreme weather conditions. With Panasonic Toughbook 19 rugged convertible laptops in each of its ambulances, the agency has been able to increase its efficiency and level of service to the community, says Assistant Fire Chief Daren Burrier.

"What ended up happening is that our documentation started to improve, and more accurate patient records lead to better patient care," Burrier says. He adds that “the computers also streamlined the agency's quality assurance (QA) process, and allowed it to get up-to-date on data collection and submission at the national level, making the agency eligible for more federal grants.”

In June 2015 the department decided to upgrade its technology by investing in Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 rugged tablets. The machines run Windows with a lightweight build. They have a 10-point touchscreen, integrated mobile broadband connectivity and enterprise-grade battery plus a bridge battery. The sturdy tablets were the ideal tool to take the island's first responder productivity to the next level, Burrier says.

For the tablet acquisition, the agency looked at several options, but "hands down, Panasonic was the best fit for us," Burrier explains. Other tablet brands look inviting, but they're limited, he says. “You have to put them [the other brands] in rugged housings, and we didn't feel the longevity was going to be there."

"Before, it was just a dream to have a computer at every station," Burrier says. "But with these Panasonic tablets, it's becoming a reality, and by the end of the year, the entire department will be digital. It's made us a lot more efficient in doing our job and collecting the necessary fees for doing that job, which we can put back into the system to provide the community with the best service possible."



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