Poudre Fire Authority enhances accountability and communication with Whip Around

“Whip Around helps us be more proactive about defects and maintenance needs. There’s no more things slipping through the cracks — for us, it’s been a game-changer.”

—Trent Edelmon, Captain


  • Eliminated “pencil whipping”
  • Enhanced accountability by requiring photo documentation
  • Minimized downtime while ensuring DOT/NFPA compliance

Introducing Poudre Fire Authority

Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) is a multi-faceted, all-hazards response agency serving over 230 square miles in Northern Colorado. With a fleet of around 87 emergency and officer vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances, PFA must adhere to strict inspection and maintenance standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT).

When Trent Edelmon was promoted to Captain and tasked with overseeing PFA’s fleet operations, he inherited a disjointed system of paper inspections that lacked proper oversight and communication workflows.

The challenge

Previously, PFA drivers would often “pencil whip” paper inspection forms rather than conducting true inspections — an accountability nightmare. Critical defects went unreported, leading to increased downtime when issues escalated.

“Before Whip Around, it was just a hodgepodge of stuff. We had no way to properly track or communicate apparatus issues,” Edelmon said. “Things would fall through the cracks and our fleet wasn’t being maintained like it should have been.”

Beyond the inspection woes, PFA lacked visibility into vehicle status and defect resolution workflows. Mechanics had no streamlined way to receive defect reports from the field and update drivers on repair status. 

This created a disconnect between the shop and emergency response teams.

The solution

While PFA’s existing maintenance platform RTA offered basic inspection capabilities, it proved overly complex and difficult to use for drivers out on runs. That’s when the agency turned to Whip Around to modernize their inspection processes.

Using Whip Around’s intuitive mobile app, PFA customized digital inspection forms to ensure drivers were conducting comprehensive checks rather than pencil-whipping. Mandatory photo attachments for defect reports allow mechanics to quickly triage issues.

“Whip Around has worked really well for keeping lines of communication open between crews and our shop,” Edelmon said. “Everybody knows exactly what’s going on with each vehicle at all times.”

PFA also leverages Whip Around’s granular defect management capabilities. 

As soon as a defect is reported, mechanics are automatically notified to begin reviewing and prioritizing repairs based on severity. Crews always have full visibility into repair status updates from the shop via defect comment trails.

Streamlining communication unlocked additional benefits like maximizing vehicle uptime. 

“We see much less downtime than before,” Edelmon said. “If a small issue is caught early, we can get a part on order and keep that apparatus in service until it’s an easy fix.”

Key results

By embracing Whip Around’s mobile inspections and defect management workflows, Poudre Fire Authority has:

  • Eliminated inaccurate “pencil whipping” to ensure true accountability
  • Achieved more comprehensive inspections by requiring photo documentation
  • Improved communication between crews and mechanics on vehicle status
  • Minimized unplanned downtime by proactively addressing small defects
  • Ensured DOT/NFPA compliance by capturing comprehensive defect records

“Whip Around helps us be more proactive about defects and maintenance needs,” said Edelmon. “There’s no more things slipping through the cracks — for us, it’s been a game-changer.”

While paper processes created gaps, Whip Around has enhanced accountability, communication and asset utilization for PFA’s fleet. The user-friendly mobile app also allows new drivers to get up and running quickly with minimal training.