February 13, 2023

5 Tips to Find Best Public Safety Scheduling Software

Public safety agencies need employee scheduling to be seamless and reliable. Fire/rescue, law enforcement, EMS and dispatch agencies have unique and complex needs, and with lives depending on you, every shift needs safety response personnel in the right place at the right time. If you’re still spending hours every week correcting errors and keeping the schedule up to date, we’ve got good news. The right scheduling software can help you keep every shift – and every emergency – covered.

What to Look for In Public Safety Scheduling Software

1. Simple scheduling.

For fire/rescue, law enforcement, EMS and dispatch agencies, shift scheduling can be complex, so you need a software that’s flexible and customizable for your unique needs.

LifeSave Transport used to create EMS schedules in Excel and upload them to a company web page for their employees to view. They had better things to do with their time than figure out complex spreadsheet workarounds and process time off and trade requests. And so do you.

A great scheduling software will make these processes simple and trackable, streamline routine administrative tasks, eliminate shift errors, and save you money with better overtime management.

Specifically, look for a scheduling software that lets you:

  • Create and replicate straight shifts or complex repeat and rotation schemes.
  • Alert only qualified staff to open shifts via text and email.
  • Quickly approve time-off and trade requests.
  • Efficiently and easily receive shift reminders.
  • Monitor minimum staffing levels.

2. Easy schedule changes.

Overtime, training & special-duty scheduling shouldn’t send you back to the whiteboard. And the right scheduling software won’t leave you scrambling to take care of last-minute shift changes.

Take Williamson Co. Dept. of Emergency Communications, for example. Their supervisors often answer phones and dispatch calls, so they didn’t have time to stop and manually fill a shift when someone was running late or couldn’t come in to work. They needed to find a software for dispatch schedules that would do it for them.

The right scheduling software will be able to create individual schedules or calendar listings for any single or recurring event. And if a member calls off, it can send out an alert to all qualified personnel to fill the shift at the click of a button. That way, you save time and keep everyone instantly informed.

3. Schedule sharing.

In the age of mobile devices, you and your employees should be able to access “live” and current schedules 24/7/365 via a computer, tablet, or smartphone. But another feature to look for is the ability to share schedules externally.

We often see this feature in action with police scheduling. New Ulm PD shares their officers’ schedules with Brown County Dispatch, the city’s human resources officer, and assistants in the City and County Attorney offices so they can try to avoid scheduling trial dates during officers’ vacation time.

4. Bulletproof reliability.

When you use software for shift scheduling, you can’t afford to have it crash. You need a cloud-based program that’s always live and highly secure. And it needs to be bug-free, so you don’t have shift errors or coverage gaps.

Look for the following qualities:

It’s hosted and maintained on remote servers by the software company.

The system is always current with the latest updates.

Data backups happen every day at multiple secure locations.

5. Transparency for you and your team

Brunswick Hills (OH) Township Fire Department had a problem with their paper calendar process: there was no efficient way of tracking monthly and yearly personnel hours or mandatory weekend and holiday shifts. And to make things worse, sometimes members would scratch their names off the schedule and deny ever signing up for that day, leaving the shift short-staffed.

When you’re creating schedules for fire departments – or any public safety agency – you need a scheduling software that’s trackable and transparent. It should let you set the time-types, work rules, holidays, grace periods, accruals, and access levels, and every action in the system should carry a time-date stamp so fairness reigns. When everyone knows the rules, you can build team morale with consistency and trust.

How Aladtec Helps Public Safety Schedulers

Aladtec does all these things and more. Our scheduling software was purpose-built for public safety in 2005, and today serves thousands of EMS, fire service, law enforcement, healthcare, and dispatch organizations across the U.S. and Canada. Our goal is to help public safety departments streamline processes, improve communication, and manage overtime with an employee scheduling software that works for them.

We think our experience speaks to the quality and reliability of our software, but don’t take our word for it! Start your trial today and see for yourself how it can work for you.