Across the country, budgets for federal, state and local parks are taking a hit on operational expenses in an effort to reduce financial deficits. And while this usually means limited capital expenditures or no additional employees, it can also mean stepped-up measures throughout the parks to help protect premises and assets.
Key control and asset management is an economical tactic that park administrators can implement to help secure park property, trace asset usage and improve operational procedures. To clarify, key control and management systems are designed to electronically release keys from a locked cabinet only to authorized users. Additionally, each individual key is secured to a locking mechanism that features a built-in memory chip and the data from the chip is stored when a key is inserted into or removed from a key slot in the cabinet.
Examples of how a key control and asset management system would be applicable in the operation of a park environment include controlling access to keys for motor vehicles and park maintenance equipment like riding mowers, along with limiting access to park facilities such as bathrooms, administration/storage buildings and gas pumps..Asset management also enables items such as cash boxes, cameras and two-way radios to be secured. The key management system records each access activity so that administration knows who took/returned each key and when. For instance, employees are requested to examine park vehicles prior to taking them out, making note of any scrapes or dents, and repeat the step when returning the vehicle. If this is not done, it is difficult to identify and/or prove who last drove the vehicle or who was responsible for any damage. A key management system provides an accountabililty trail to help quickly resolve the issue.
In addition to increasing the vulnerability of the park’s assets, lost or damaged keys can cost thousands of dollars to replace. Knowing who last accessed a key can assist management in determining a remedial course of action. For a small investment, key control and management systems enable park administration to gain better control of assets and help avoid unnecessary losses.