Intelligent Software Helps Fire Departments Overcome Scheduling Challenges

Intelligent Software Helps Fire Departments Overcome Scheduling Challenges

Vector Scheduling mobile app Tim Riley and Brad Lyon come from long careers in the fire service, Tim with over thirty years and Brad with seventeen. Now, they help fellow firefighters and fire departments safeguard lives and achieve better outcomes with Vector Solutions' powerful software products as subject matter experts and solutions engineers.

In a recent webinar on overcoming scheduling challenges with Vector Scheduling (formerly CrewSense), Tim and Brad shared their knowledge and expertise on the value the intelligent, rules-based software can provide fire departments. Keep reading for highlights from their engaging discussion and watch the recording for more best practices.

Make Changes On-The-Fly with Real-Time Mobile App

The fire service is a mobile workforce with many moving parts and people. The Vector Scheduling app enables access to essential scheduling functions from any web-enabled device.

Brad called out several convenient and useful features on the mobile app that empower firefighters to view and request to modify their schedule from anywhere, including:

  • View Roster - see the daily schedule with details of who is working where and when
  • Trades - request shift trades
  • Time-off Banks - see accruals and request time off
  • CallBack Board - see and accept callbacks

The app is also useful for supervisors who can initiate callbacks and perform other key functions in the app instead of having to be tethered to a desktop computer at the station. With Vector Scheduling, you can save countless administrative hours making phone calls with automated callbacks based on agency-specific rules.

Automated Callbacks Saves Time and Reduces Grievances

Brad recalled how his department (like many departments) performed callbacks, "Back in the day when I was in the fire service, you had to pick up the phone and call one person at a time from a Rolodex-style file card. Once you got a person who accepted the callback, you had to move them to the back of the list to make sure people weren't out of order."

Vector Scheduling App

With Vector Scheduling, you can use your agency-based rules to quickly start a new callback sequence for the assignment and position needed that automatically picks available and qualified crew members and sends out notifications in the predetermined order.

Answering callbacks is easy for members with automated phone calls, text, and in-app contact methods.

Watch the webinar to learn about more settings that help to ensure proper coverage for your department while adhering to scheduling policy, like force hire, work limits, FLSA/Overtime rules, and more.

Simplified Payroll Data Exporting

Exporting time and attendance out of Vector Scheduling for payroll is simplified with multiple field and file options in customizable templates. Many departments use raw .csv files to pull the specific fields needed in the right order to import into payroll software.

"Once you've created the template of what you want yours to look like, you'll be able to manage and export time and attendance for payroll," said Brad.

Save Admin Time By Automating Time Off

Accrual Profiles and Tracks

Most departments set up accruals by years of service. Setting up accrual profiles in Vector Scheduling to accommodate multiple time off types is easy. And if there are specific time off types that your department does not include in accruals, they can easily be disabled with one click.

Manage accrual tracks to automatically move members into the next qualifying accrual profile—for example, from 0-5 to 5-10 to 10-15 years of service—based on hire date to ensure they earn time off at the right rate throughout their career. "Let the system do the work for you," Brad added.

Accrual reports can be run on individuals, groups, or all employees to see accrual totals, what they've earned, and what they've used.

Time Off Requests

Set time of requests to route to specific Admins for approval. Admins receive pending request notifications and can quickly log in online or on the app to approve or deny the request. Once approved or denied, a notification is sent to the requestor, and approved requests are automatically added to the schedule.

Trade Board

Empower your members and ensure fairness with Vector Scheduling's intuitive shift trade feature, which indicates who the trade request should go to (specific people or lists), classifications, whether it's a swap for another shift, and a field for notes. Once submitted, the shift trade goes to an Admin for approval, and the change is reflected in the schedule.

Members can see what trades are owed, earned, and the balance between those they have traded with by viewing the Trade Ledger. Only Admins can adjust balances; end users can view only.


Vector Scheduling for Fire & EMS helps departments simplify the most complex scheduling rules. Request a demo to see how it can help your department overcome its scheduling challenges.

Want to Know More?

Reach out and a Vector Solutions representative will respond back to help answer any questions you might have.