The four branches of the military, combined, have an estimated 4.5 million firearms, according to the nonprofit independent Small Arms Survey. Of that number, approximately 1,900 vanished from military inventories between 2010 and 2019. That figure compiled in a recent Associated Press study of military inventory records and internal memos. It’s a small percentage of the total number, but as Albany County, NY, district attorney David Soares states, “One gun creates a ton of devastation,” when a missing military weapon turns up on the streets.
Some of the missing weapons have been linked to violent crimes across the U.S., from California to New York, Kentucky to the Carolinas. It’s an uncomfortable irony that missing military firearms ever become a problem for local law enforcement. And it doesn’t have to be this way. There are technology solutions: secure weapons lockers, and RFID.
Smart weapons lockers help prevent surreptitious thefts by outsiders. The AP report detailed how an unlocked door allowed intruders to steal six automatic weapons from a National Guard armory. In another case, surveillance cameras failed to record firearms thieves at a Marine base. Weapons lockers’ biometric and electronic locks limit access to the stored firearms. Only authorized personnel have access, and smart technology automatically records who accessed what, and when.
The secure chain of custody begins with weapons lockers, but it doesn’t stop there. RFID technology expands the chain of custody from the initial delivery of a firearm, into the military weapons inventory, and out into the field.
RFID excels as an asset management tool. For example, an RFID-managed armory can operate like this:
- The manufacturer tags each weapon per the military branch’s data specifications.
- When a shipment of RFID-tagged guns arrives at the armory, a single scan with an RFID reader captures the identifying data of every item in the entire shipment. The shipment is checked in a matter of seconds, with no manual errors.
- Each gun is placed in a smart locker; its assigned locker number is recorded on the RFID inventory.
- Using a hand-held RFID reader, a single scan of the weapons locker room reads every weapon in the room and updates the inventory each day.
- When a gun is checked out or returned, the armory records the soldier’s RFID card and the gun’s RFID tag; the soldier’s ID and the weapon’s ID are automatically linked – no manual errors.
The RFID asset management system can be configured to generate alerts if inventories are not completed, or if weapons are not returned as expected, need routine maintenance, or are due for replacement.
Weapons lockers and RFID asset management remove the human-error factor from armory management. They improve security, accountability, and efficiency. Most important, they reduce the chances that military firearms will find their way the hands of bad actors.
Photo © Getmilitaryphotos / AdobeStock
The Oscars and the Emmys may be better known, but the Station Design Awards, honoring outstanding fire station design, have a much more direct effect on communities across America. When fire stations are designed to support first responders’ wellbeing, communities benefit from better firefighting and EMT service. And when stations are designed to encourage interaction with the community, everyone benefits from better fire prevention awareness and involvement.
Fire stations present some unique design challenges, including:
- equipment contaminated by hazardous materials encountered in fires
- engines’ carbon monoxide exhaust intruding into fire station living areas
- common areas that allow for multiple activities without noise or space conflicts
- secure storage for bulky “turnout” protective gear, uniforms, and personal items
- sleeping areas that promote good sleep habits for high-functioning first responders
Last year’s award winners came from all parts of the U.S., from Washington State to Texas to Ohio to South Carolina. The judges looked particularly at zone designs (separating contaminated “hot” zones from the “cold” zone of living areas); sleeping areas that balanced isolation against privacy needs; and fire station building security. In stations where interactions with the public are common, and even encouraged, any access to administrative and living areas still has to be controlled. Equipment, turnout gear, and firefighters’ personal property must be stored safely in cages and lockers.
Writing in Firehouse.com, Janet Wilmoth reviewed station design trends reported by architects involved in station design. In addition to green design and LEED certification, these design professionals are seeing more indoor recreation spaces – which help reduce stress and build camaraderie – and the addition of community rooms and small walk-in clinics which improve outreach to the neighborhoods served by these fire stations.
This year’s Station Design Awards will be announced in November. Best of luck to all the entrants, along with thanks to first responders everywhere for their service.
Photo © MonkeyBusiness / AdobeStock
Massachusetts-based MD10 has been testing RFID temporary “tattoos” that detect various illness and monitor health conditions, sending data to healthcare professionals via a tiny built-in antenna. As reported in 21st Century Wire, first responders can scan an injured person’s RFID tattoo for allergies or medical conditions before administering medications. Doctors can be alerted to a patient’s impending heart attack hours before onset. The potential for improved healthcare is tremendous.
But wait, there’s more: these flat RFID tattoos, called Biostamps, can also store passwords. The Biostamp communicates with the user’s mobile phone to authenticate the user’s identity. At the D11 conference, Motorola announced an initiative that would incorporate Biostamps into mobile phone and tablet authentication, adding a high degree of security to e-devices and cloud-based apps. It’s yet another application of RFID that began with inventory storage and tracking, and we’re proud to be leaders in RFID technology.
Photo © andreydesign/Fotolia
As the song says, “It’s that time of year,” time to take advantage of Section 179, the tax rule that allows you to deduct the full purchase price of business equipment, up to $25,000. New equipment put into service before December 31st can be deducted from your business’s gross income under Section 179. It’s that simple. And everything we provide – high density storage systems, RFID systems, materials handling equipment, for example – qualifies for the deduction.
More good news: When you add in depreciation, the total tax reduction is even greater. This calculator shows the savings: http://bit.ly/11RTHn5. Check with your tax professional, then give us a call.
Photo © ninell – Fotolia