CUSTOMER PROFILE: HABERSHAM COUNTY, GA EMERGENCY SERVICES
November 19, 2019
How Aladtec Became an Indispensable Tool for This Georgia Combo Service
Habersham County, GA Emergency Services overcame scheduling challenges following the merge of the county’s fire department and ambulance services.
Employees and volunteers with Habersham County Emergency Services provide 24/7 fire suppression, emergency medical, technical rescue, hazardous material, water rescue, education, and arson investigation services. The department was created in 2018 after the county assumed oversight of Habersham Medical Center’s ambulance service. Soon after, the ambulance service and the county’s fire department were merged to create the new agency.
Director Chad Black has had a variety of assignments during his 33 years as a flight paramedic and Deputy Fire Chief of Operations for the 372-member Hall County Fire Service, but he’d never helped execute a department merger.
“One of the challenges we had was scheduling. There wasn’t a good system in place with either (agency) when we merged, so we created a Word document that had to be changed every day. It listed the shift commander, the captains, and each apparatus and who was assigned. It had to be updated daily and e-mailed out for the next shift. It was constantly a change-process, and it was not a good, reliable system,” said Black.
“We’d just gotten the hospital to purchase Kronos for us to schedule. Now, a month after we implemented Kronos, they decided to merge — so that went away,” Black said. He was determined to find a tool to assist the shift commanders with scheduling chores.
“Of course, we looked at Kronos because we’d just gone through three months of learning how to operate it. We also looked at Telestaff, and just in Googling, I found Aladtec (acquired by TCP Software in 2021).”
The bigger “wow” for command staff and members was the way Aladtec streamlined time-off approvals and eliminated the paper shuffle.
After several conversations and a customized demo, Black and his staff decided it would be a good fit.
Black and others were already familiar with digital scheduling so that transition was smooth. The bigger “wow” for command staff and members was the way Aladtec streamlined time-off approvals and eliminated the paper shuffle.
“Everything was being done by paper. If you wanted to be off or have a time-swap you had to fill out a (form), get it to the battalion chief, battalion chief had to get it to headquarters and be approved. We had people who were not getting approved for a vacation in a timely manner. Our whole process was just the 1970s and 80s. We had to fix that.”
been one of the best programs, investments, in my 36 years that I’ve ever done.
Black is also a big fan of the flexibility offered within Aladtec’s Member Database and the accountability brought about with the Required Message tool.
While he was at Hall County, Black once had a fire lieutenant who suffered a seizure and passed out while mowing the grass outside a station house. “We transported him to the hospital. We had no clue as to whether he’d ever had a seizure before. We went to his emergency contact information, and he and his wife had changed phones a year prior and not updated it. It took us two hours to find his wife. Now, that’s not good, especially if something happens and it’s serious.
”In our business, unfortunately, there are injuries and fatalities from fires and things like that. If that happens, we want to make sure we get in touch with who you want us to get in touch with. And if it’s a worst-case scenario — who do you want us to notify? Your wife? Your mother? And do you have a preference from our department? Who you want to go? Some may want me. Some may want their partner. Some may want one of our chaplains. So we let them pick.”
“We also keep all of our policies, our medical protocols, our rules and regulations—everything is in the Documents folder. So when we update a new policy, we’ll send it out by e-mail, but we also do a Required Message —‘Hey. New policy.’ If something comes down four months later and they’d acknowledged that and they say, ‘Well, I didn’t know it…’, I’m sorry. You acknowledged it on Aladtec. You should have read it.”
Black has become an Aladtec champion in Georgia.
“I’m a big believer, if you can have one system that can do the majority of tasks, it makes it a lot better. With Aladtec, for the cost, with the scheduling and everything else it’s done—you’re an easy sell,” said Black, who has recommended Aladtec to at least four other Georgia EMS services. “It’s been a dream for us. We’re still learning it, just scratching the surface, but it’s been one of the best programs, investments, in my 36 years that I’ve ever done.
75 full time and paid on-call firefighters, paramedics & EMTs, operating from nine stations.
Providing EMS, fire, and rescue aacross 279 sq. miles in northeast Georgia. Habersham County, about 90 miles north of Atlanta, includes part of the Chattahoochee National Forest and shares a portion of 4,430-foot Tray Mountain, which hosts part of the storied Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
How TCP Helped
11 engines, 9 tankers, 1 ladder, 5 ambulances, a UTV and other special equipment.