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How to make personnel scheduling easier with a web-based platform

RollCall from Adashi Systems can help your department minimize labor costs, comply with union rules and improve operational efficiency


By using a system like RollCall to manage scheduling, your department can ensure appropriate staffing to handle any incident and maintain important personnel information for managing crews on the fireground.

image/Adashi Systems

Sponsored by Adashi Systems

By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1 BrandFocus

One of your greatest resource management challenges as a fire chief is knowing with certainty that you have the right number of people, with the necessary qualifications, in the proper locations, every day to provide high-quality emergency services for your community. And that you’re doing it while staying within your budget.

Manage Fire Department Staffing More Efficiently

Scheduling first responders can be quick and easy using software like RollCall from Adashi Systems. Designed specifically for fire departments and other public safety agencies, RollCall provides a powerful tool that can help you and your department minimize labor costs, ensure compliance with union rules for overtime and seniority, increase efficiency and take a holistic approach to your personnel management.

The system is web-based, so there’s no additional equipment or software to buy, install and maintain. RollCall gives you and your personnel 24/7 system access using any web browser or mobile device (the mobile app is available for both iOS and Android). RollCall also can seamlessly integrate your fire department’s data with Adashi’s FirstResponse MDT and C&C incident command software.

“When we set out to develop RollCall, our goal was to create a product that would not only meet a fire department’s unique scheduling and staffing requirements, but could take that data and roll it into our other products,” said Sanjay Kalasa, president of Adashi Systems. “We also wanted to create a scalable product that could serve the needs of big departments like FDNY, as well as smaller departments that might only have 50 members.”

According to Kalasa, RollCall’s many features make it easier for a fire department to have a staffing management system that ensures that:

  • Overtime staffing dollars are spent efficiently.
  • Overtime rules are followed so that overtime opportunities are extended to personnel fairly and equally.
  • Personnel requests for time off and shift trades between personnel don’t have an adverse effect on operations.
  • Critical professional certifications for personnel, e.g., paramedic, hazmat specialist or rescue diver, don’t lapse.

Your Department Writes the Rules

RollCall doesn’t create a staffing management system where none exists. The platform helps you take your current processes and make them better. The key is RollCall’s rules-based engine, which empowers your department’s personnel to make staffing management decisions upfront, and then automate the process.

“When we sat down with fire departments during the development phase for RollCall, we found that one of their greatest challenges was dealing with the sometimes-complicated union contract rules for overtime and seniority’s impact on station assignments and transfers,” Kalasa said. “Another big challenge we learned about was all the unwritten rules – the stuff they’d been doing for years, but couldn’t be found in any policy or the union contract.”

These are among the many issues that get resolved during the setup of RollCall for an individual fire department, he added.

“We customize RollCall to meet a fire department’s individual requirements,” Kalasa said. “We sit down with everyone from the fire chief to the captains in the stations to learn how they manage their staffing on a daily basis – and we get them to write that stuff down if it’s not already written.”

Then begins the process of automating those rules and requirements.

Automation Decreases the Potential for Error

RollCall removes the potential for an individual violating one of the department’s written or unwritten rules – the most common pitfall of any staffing management process.

“We take all that written data and create algorithms within RollCall for all of a department’s staffing requirements,” Kalasa said. “When we’re done, your department has consistent data to take action and make staffing decisions. All of that upfront work gives RollCall the data it needs to render an objective data-driven decision when a staffing situation arises.”

Kalasa says RollCall is much more than just a tool for staffing and scheduling, because it enables fire department leaders to:

  • See what their staffing looks like in real time and for future dates.
  • Create labor and management reports.
  • Minimize noncompliance risks.
  • Control labor costs.
  • Track employee professional certifications and qualifications.
  • Export system data to the department’s records management system and payroll.

One example of how RollCall turns your department’s data into useful management information is its Station Staffing map.

“When a battalion chief comes on duty, they can look at a color-coded map for the entire department that shows the staffing levels for each fire company,” Kalasa said.

The map shows:

  • Green for proper staffing.
  • Red for understaffed.
  • Yellow for understaffed but with a solution in progress.
  • Blue for overstaffed.
Adashi RollCall mapping and scheduling screens shown on tablets

“By clicking on a red or yellow station, that battalion chief can see what RollCall is doing to turn that station green,” Kalasa said, “whether it’s filling a slot with overtime or transferring a person from a blue station.”

Empower Individual Firefighters and Officers

Fire department personnel can use RollCall daily via the internet portal or mobile app to:

  • Mark themselves available for overtime, receive notifications of overtime shifts and accept overtime when contacted.
  • Conduct shift trades.
  • Access their personal leave and overtime history in real time, along with activity
    and accrual information.

Many fire departments struggle with the scheduling and management of time off and shift trades for personnel. Kalasa provided an example of how a fire chief using RollCall can designate a time when personnel can sign up for personal time off (vacation leave) for the coming year:

During the designated period, all personnel can log into RollCall from their personal computer or mobile device and see the department’s leave calendar in real time. This allows them to see which days are available so that those lower on the seniority list can plan for what days will likely be available when their turn comes up.

Data Integration Provides Critical Information on the Fireground

Because RollCall seamlessly integrates with Adashi’s C&C incident command software, it gives an incident commander detailed real-time information about the personnel responding to a scene, including:

  • The true number of responders on each unit and their individual identities.
  • A photograph of each responder.
  • The professional qualifications of those responders, e.g., how many firefighters, paramedics, hazmat technicians or rescue divers are on the call.

When a unit is dispatched, RollCall takes that data and creates an electronic passport, which it sends to Adashi’s C&C incident command software. On scene, the incident commander pushes one button in C&C to collect all those passports into the personnel accountability system feature, generating a personnel listing that’s ready for immediate use.

By using a system like RollCall to manage scheduling, your department can ensure appropriate staffing to handle any incident and maintain important personnel information for managing crews on the fireground.