“This is software designed for the firefighters; it’s a tool aimed at their success.”
Operational leader at Falck Denmark
Several Fire and Rescue Services across Denmark are operated by Falck, one of the world’s largest rescue companies.
In the Island of Lolland, the fourth largest Danish Island, Falck operates fire brigades and Klaus Nielsen is the operational leader of nine stations and 163 firefighters. In December 2018 several Falck fire stations began trials with FireServiceRota for their on-call crews, including the one in Rødby.
Rødby, one of the stations under Klaus Nielsen’s supervision, began its trial in February for their on-call crew and soon after went live using FireServiceRota as their designated software to schedule on-call firefighters.
In the same region, Sakskøbing began its trial soon after. We had the chance to talk with Mr. Nielsen about his experience with FireServiceRota.
Life before FireServiceRota
Falck’s stations in Lolland operate under a similar system as Retained Duty firefighters in the United Kingdom and on-call firefighters in The Netherlands: parttime or volunteer firefighters are not required to remain at the station during their available times but must be within 5 minutes of the station while on-call.
The problem was that, at the moment of alert, station managers could be left in darkness of knowing if the station would be able to muster a full crew. As Mr. Nielsen mentioned “We could have issues with foreseeing understaffing because we didn’t know who would come”. And if a full crew did not respond soon enough, another station had to be called in.
Furthermore, after such situations, parttime firefighters would take full responsibility and have feelings of guilt for not being available. In consequence, these firefighters forced themselves to stricter schedules and less opportunities to fulfill personal activities.
After being present in a presentation given by Cor Klaasse Bos, one of FireServiceRota’s founders, Klaus immediately saw a potential benefit in adopting the system to ensure station availability, while providing enough information to firefighters to mark themselves on or off-duty.
“You can tell this is software designed by firefighters”
Adopting FireServiceRota was received with a little scepticism by a couple of crew members. However, after experiencing the benefits of being free when possible but remain available when needed, perception quickly changed.
“Most of (the firefighters) are using it on their phones and it’s very easy to use. They can now log off confidently knowing there are enough colleagues available.” – Nielsen said when discussing the benefits for his fire crew. –“You can tell this is software for firefighters by firefighters. This software is designed with firefighters in mind. It is a tool aimed at their success”.
Different from other systems tried in the past, FireServiceRota is appreciated by the fire crew because they don’t look at it as another system imposed by management, but as a system they can actually use for their own advantage.
But FireServiceRota has not only been helpful to firefighters. Klaus Nielsen and local station managers have also seen an unprecedented level of preparedness:
With the Reporting module, Nielsen can see exactly when understaffing problems might be an issue.
But beyond features and benefits, Klaus believe that the strongest attribute of FireServiceRota is Customer Support: “When you ask for (support), you will get support quickly. (FireServiceRota) listens to our issues and there is always an answer and people trying to help us.”
Currently, two of the nine stations under Klaus’ leadership are using FireServiceRota. For Klaus, this learning and implementation period can only be considered a success.
“The setup of the first two stations is going well so now we are starting soon with the third station. We believe there is an opportunity to work together with more stations on this.