Chesapeake Fire Department now uses vending system to dispense medical supplies

A new system is helping the Chesapeake Fire Department better track your tax dollars.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A new system is helping the Chesapeake Fire Department better track your tax dollars.

Monday, they implemented a new, secure web-based vending system for medical supplies.

It’s the first of its kind at a fire department in Hampton Roads and only the fourth one across the commonwealth.

This is an $85,000 investment that officials believe could save more money in the long run.

It’s like the vending machines you use for snacks and drinks.

In the past crews could only get supplies from the supply room inside of Station 5 on Hanbury Road, after sending an email.

Restocking was estimated.

“There could be a delay when that email was received or when that order was filled,” Chesapeake Fire Captain Scott Saunders said.

Then there were fuel costs because crews could only get supplies from Station 5 no matter where they were based in the city.

“When we’re talking to a crew coming from all the way from Western Branch that’s a long ride,” Capt. Saunders said.

Now things have changed.

“This is going to help people from hoarding and thinking they may need more when actually in turn they need less,” said supplier Chris Bergeron with Bound Tree Medical.

The new system was three years in the making. It speeds up the process to get supplies and helps keep up with cost.

Fire Department Captain Greg Noel explained, “With this system that we’re going on line with and the information it’s going to provide us it’s going to be able to allow us to use their tax dollars more efficiently.”

So far this year Chesapeake fire and EMS crews have had 27,476 calls for service. 76 percent (or 20,749) of those were EMS calls. in 2016, there were a total of 29,704 calls for service. 22,481 (or 76 percent) were EMS calls. Now officials can pinpoint costs associated with all calls.

“We can get down to tracking what supplies we typically use on a certain type of call,” Capt. Saunders said.

Officials stress the system won’t impact response times, instead it’ll reduce delays.

Right now there are five systems across Chesapeake with plans to add more.

Additionally, the department will soon begin a joint partnership with Chesapeake Regional Medical Center to also be able to restock at the hospitals.