It would be challenging to read tags on equipment in an ambulance as it drives in or out of a yard, as an ambulance cabin is composed of metal, through which radio waves can not pass. You could capture some tags through the vehicle’s windows, but it would be unlikely that you would be able to capture every tag all of the time, even if you used active tags, which broadcast a signal, on larger pieces of equipment.
Action Ambulance, based in Wilmington, Mass., is employing passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags on ambulance equipment and supplies. The company utilizes a handheld reader to quickly read tags on equipment located within an ambulance. This has reduced the time it takes employees to verify the equipment on each vehicle, from one to two hours down to just 90 seconds (see RFID Rescues Emergency Transportation Service).
And Frisbie Memorial Hospital, located in Rochester, N.H., is tracking equipment and the temperature of medicine that emergency medical technicians take with them whenever an ambulance is dispatched. The facility utilizes GPS technology to track each ambulance’s location and speed in real time, as well as RFID to determine if a piece of equipment was left behind by a vehicle’s crew, and to monitor the temperature inside a medicine bag (see Frisbie Memorial Hospital Takes RFID on Emergency Calls).
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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