“The dynamics of this software are phenomenal. It gives us visibility and overviews we never had. Schedule misunderstandings are nearly impossible, except when there’s human error. This new clarity helped us reduce overtime pay mistakes by 90 percent.”
“Prior to Snap Schedule, we tried a myriad of different ‘solutions’ from automated scheduling to creating rosters with pencil and paper. None of these methods were able to meet the demands of our scheduling needs, and were more complicated and stressful than they were helpful.”
What Can Snap Schedule Do For Me?
Employee scheduling for fire departments varies depending on community needs. Fire departments typically employ three shifts (ABC) to have firefighters on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many fire departments operate on the 24-48 (24 on 48 off) shift schedule where firefighters work as a team at the same fire station for an entire 24-hour shift then take two days off. Another option is the 48-96 (48on 96off) shift schedule where firefighters work two straight 24-hour days then take 4 days off. The challenges to fire station scheduling are many. Union and FLSA rules place restrictions on work hours, consecutive work days, overtime compensation, as well as the types of schedules that can be implemented. In addition, you must keep track of training assignments, compensatory time, off time and know when part-time or volunteer firefighters will be available for work. When necessary, you must find qualified backup and on-call personnel to fill a shift as quickly and efficiently as possible. Snap Schedule can assist you in an efficient manner with the robust features below.
Key Scheduling, Labor Cost Control, and Reporting Features
Create schedules in a snap
Drag-and-drop to easily assign shifts, mark time-off, move or copy assignments for your firefighting employees. Track all training, vacation, sick leave, and other off-work requests.
Assign shifts to employees in multiple locations & areas
Define as many locations/departments as you like and authorize your fire department workers and employees to work at certain locations but not others. Filter/sort work schedules and reports based on locations.
Assign breaks, duties, and tasks within each shift
Visually assign breaks, duties, and tasks of any length from one minute to several hours with a simple drag-and-drop.
Find best fit employees or substitutes
Easily find qualified and eligible firefighters to fill open shifts based on availability, position, skill, labor cost, work hour limits, seniority and other criteria.
Avoid scheduling conflict
Detect and alert all sorts of schedule conflicts like overlapping shifts, lacking required skills, not enough rest between shifts, or too many overtime hours. Any conflict will be clearly flagged and color-coded on schedule views.
Up-to-date employee availability, skill level and expiration
Fire department employees and firefighters can enter availability information for each day of the week and restrictions that should be considered when creating and managing schedules. Avoid over/under staffing a shift with people you need by skills and get an alert when an employee’s skill or certification is about to expire.
Ensure adequate shift coverage
Show the number of fire department employees and firefighters scheduled in each shift by position, skill, or reason so you can quickly see if any position is over/under staffed while making shift assignments.
Handle overtime, shift premium and incentive pay
Flexible pay rules to compute overtime and extra pay to fire department employees and firefighters working on public holidays, certain days or hours of the day, irregular shifts, etc.
Comply with labor rules and collective agreements
Avoid grievances and ensure compliance to collective bargaining agreements, HR policies, labor and working time regulations. When filling an open shift, you can use multiple criteria to narrow down the number of eligible fire department workers and firefighters.
Time sheet data for payroll
Adjust the shift’s scheduled start and end times to reflect the actual time worked and instantly see the revised hours and costs. Add notes and reasons to record or explain deviations and provide time card data for payroll.
Make informed decisions based on up-to-date data
Use a comprehensive set of 49 reports to analyze scheduling data; prepare management records; and track fire department workers and firefighters activities, assignments, costs, and time-offs.
Easily publish shift schedules, calendars, and any report in PDF and a variety of other formats. Automatically email work schedules (in text or iCalendar file format) to fire department workers and firefighters and/or their supervisors.
From home to business, from desktop to mobile devices, your firefighters have 24/7 access to schedule data. You control who will be allowed access and which employee self-service features will be enabled for your operations.
Request time off
Firefighters can make time off/vacation requests and schedulers can track, manage, approve, or deny those requests. Employees can see the approval status and are automatically alerted when their request is approved or rejected via an iOS/Android in-app notification.
Self-scheduling with Open Shifts
Empower your firefighter employees by letting them self-schedule with Open Shift. Schedulers can simply create an open shift for a position and specify the shift and the required number of employees and skills. Qualified fire department workers can view open shifts and bid for the shift they like.
Shift trade/pick up
Allow automatic shift trading with or without a scheduler’s approval. Fire department employees can post their shifts for trade and coworkers who are eligible to work the shift can make pickup or swap offers. Posting employees can select any number of qualified coworkers to invite bids.
Fire department workers and firefighters can punch in and out of their assigned shifts and you can set the time window for when employees are allowed to punch in or out. Schedulers can see the punch data in real-time or use the data to report the variances between planned and actual work hours and costs.
View time card information
Firefighters and fire department staff can view their planned and actual work hours for the current, previous, or next payroll cycle. On-call, overtime, paid and unpaid time-off hours are also presented.
Update availability and contact information
Save time and stay up-to-date by allowing firefighters and fire department employees to update their own contact information and availability. Employees can enter their availability information for each day of the week and in multiple time segments as needed. Snap Schedule uses this information to help schedulers select the best available employees to fill shifts.
Look up coworkers
Firefighters can look up coworkers’ contact information to call, text, or email. Schedulers decide whom to include or exclude from the directory.
Get a Personalized Demo
Our product specialists will customize a demo that addresses each challenge, question, and goal you have—all at your convenience.
Maybe you’re not doing OK. Count all the hours you spent last year, and will spend next year. How inflexible and time-consuming is changing the schedules when someone is out? Snap Schedule saves you time by dragging and dropping rather than erasing and writing. It will also help you prevent under and over staffing, schedule conflicts, and reduce your overtime and labor costs. And pencil and paper cannot email your fire department employees and it can’t show you just Joe’s or Sue’s schedules. Doing these tasks by hand is very time consuming and difficult due to workload fluctuations, frequent special requests from employees, last minute changes, and high employee turnover. Without the right tools in place, you will expend a great deal of time on these tasks — time better spent on more critical activities.
Yes! Snap Schedule keeps track of firefighter employee availability, skills, work hour preferences and alerts you to potential scheduling conflicts. Filling an open shift or finding a replacement is easy. Simply specify your criteria and Snap Schedule will present a list of qualified firefighters for your shift planning purposes.
Yes. The E-mail Schedules wizard lets you e-mail shift assignment schedules to all or selected firefighter employees. Each e-mail can contain the employee’s personal schedule or schedule information of all selected employees. You have the option of including an iCalendar formatted file that contains the employee’s personal schedule so your employees can import their schedules into their calendar programs or PDAs.
Yes! Snap Schedule is designed to allow you to define your operational constraints such as non-working days, shift start and end times, firefighter availabilities, weekly work hour limits, and more. You set the boundaries and Snap Schedule’s Schedule Planner alerts you to availability conflicts, duplicate shift assignments, overlapping shift assignments, conflicts with scheduled time off, if a firefighter has been assigned too many hours in a work period and more.
Using Excel templates for scheduling is definitely better than using pencil-and-paper but considering the price you would pay for Excel and scheduling templates, you get much more with Snap Schedule. Fire department scheduling is really a multi-dimensional problem that cannot be represented in a flat row and column format. There are employees, shifts, and dates – and you really need to be able to view the schedule from multiple vantage points. You will spend many unnecessary hours to work around Excel limitations because unlike Snap Schedule, Excel is not specifically designed for employee shift scheduling.
If your scheduling software is more than one year old, it probably handles less than half of what Snap Schedule does and it’s not built on tools as advanced and reliable as Microsoft SQL Server, .NET, or Microsoft Azure Cloud. This means you get a modern, seamlessly integrated, rock-solid software tool that will save you time and money.
Contrast the ease of use and thoroughness of Snap Schedule’s scheduling functions to those in your current solution. Then look at all the other tasks Snap Schedule does for you like fire department employee information management, emailing, overtime and labor costs monitoring, management reporting, etc. Every scheduling chore that now takes you three or four administrative minutes—and add up to hours—can suddenly take you seconds.
Snap Schedule uses a perpetual calendar for shift assignments so there is no limit and you can schedule as far into the future as you need. Snap Schedule keeps all your fire department workers, shifts, and scheduling information in a single SQL Server database file. This file will grow automatically to accommodate any shifts, holidays, vacations and time-off requests you recorded and allow you to go forward or backward in time to instantly see and assess how you are doing.
Yes. On-call shift assignments occur when a firefighter is instructed by management to remain available to be called to work during an off-duty period. When you mark a shift assignment as on-call, the shift duration is not included in the total work hour calculations.
Yes. Scheduling is a multi-dimensional problem and you really need to be able to view the schedule from multiple vantage points. Snap Schedule provides four graphical views to accommodate that as well as selectable date ranges within each view. The Daily view shows all shifts and time off for each firefighter employee in a specified date range. The Shift view shows employee staffing for each shift along with coverage data. The Task view lets you schedule tasks and breaks within a shift. The Calendar view presents work and time off assignments in calendar format.