Can you describe how Texas City managed scheduling before First Due?
Some of the software we've used in the past has been challenging. The systems could have been more user-friendly, and there were so many extra steps to get the results I wanted. I spent a lot of time publishing and republishing schedules whenever I needed to make the most minor changes. We're a small to medium size department and a training facility, so our schedules change frequently. In addition, our captains and engineers are busy putting out fires and responding to calls, and they don't have time to learn new software. Therefore, with other software, it took more work for me on the administrative side to set up the system effectively and also train our teams. But, we didn't experience the issues I mentioned with First Due. There are fewer steps to publish a schedule, and I can make edits and changes as needed. Departments have so many unique cases when it comes to scheduling, and First Due does a great job of capturing all of those cases, making it fit for every department.
I enjoy First Due so much. It's been such a pleasure setting up First Due for our company. It hasn't felt like I've done any work because it's so enjoyable. Work is fun now. First Due has been a fantastic product for our captains and engineers who use scheduling daily. They've adapted to it with almost no training. It's been an effortless transition.
What was most important to you and Chief Simons when evaluating First Due?
From Chief Simons's perspective, it was essential to have the option to access schedules from anywhere at any time. Our chiefs and battalion chiefs must know what's happening daily, even if they aren't in office. In most of the software we used in the past, you had to be at your desk or in the office to make changes.
How has First Due enhanced your day-to-day responsibilities, and what are some of your favorite features?
One of my favorite features to utilize in scheduling is customizable colors. First Due allows me to set my color codes, and it helps me quickly recognize who is on overtime, who is on shift as an engineer, etc. I have a visual guide that lets me promptly determine that our staffing is accurate. This feature is an enormous time saver, and I have never gotten it from any other system. It has been a huge benefit.
Another tool that has been extremely useful for me is reporting, specifically ad-hoc reporting. I can go to reporting, put the date and times I want to download, and have raw data to manipulate and configure for my reports. It's way more accessible than the other programs I've used. In other programs, you must navigate to another area, run a query, and complete several more steps before extracting the data. It's way too many steps when your end goal is to export the staffing data for that day. First Due prioritizes ownership over your data, making accessing the data I need easy, especially in my role, where I do many reports daily.
What was it like to set up First Due, get responders onboard, and train them on how to use it?
It was effortless to train our staff. We held one training session per shift and shared all relevant First Due Knowledgebase articles. In addition, we reviewed a few scenarios during the training sessions and showed everyone how to use the system. Moreover, all the employees were excited about using the automated call shift system! All in all, we didn't need to reinvent the wheel to get employees trained. First Due already tells you how to do everything, and the system is intuitive.
What are the most significant benefits the Knowledge Base offers you and the team?
One of the best things about the First Due Knowledge Base is that the content caters to various learners. It's been an excellent resource for me because I no longer have to make presentations to capture the attention of very busy employees. I can utilize the Knowledge Base for my teaching and training materials while giving different learners resources. And that's wonderful.
Being on the frontlines of implementing First Due from start to finish, what's it been like working with the First Due team?
Setting up First Due for the department was terrific. The First Due team is very responsive. We met every week to get up and running. In addition, the First Due team was always there if we needed to learn how to do something or had any questions. Overall, First Due ensured we met our goals and deadlines for getting the software live.