Thread: Signing In

  1. #1
    Some Guy

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    Default Signing In

    How do you sign in at the start of your shift? Also, how do you mark down for overtime, sick and personal days?

    We have a sign in book that we have to sign each shift. Then there is a journal that we have to fill out for the days actives, calls and who is working. Then we also have a large time card (not individual) that we have to fill out for overtime hours, P-days and vacation.

    Anyone have a more streamlined way?


    I also want to know how you go about overtime list. How do you select who to call?
    Last edited by KyleWickman; 12-01-2007 at 04:28 PM. Reason: adding to post
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    We use a compuer program called TeleStaff, you can Google it. If you are a small department it may be more than you need or want. Many fire departments use it. It does all of our scheduling. It works well, but like all computer programs, there have been glitches and problems.

    Regarding OT call back, the person with the least OT hours that is qualified and available to work the position gets called first. Then the next person, then the next, etc.... TeleStaff does the calling and you accept or turn down the shft over the phone. Hope that helps.

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    What are the differnt programs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWickman View Post
    What are the differnt programs?
    TeleStaff is one. Do Google search and it will come up.

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    Some Guy

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    Thank you. We are going to look in to Telestaff.
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    Default Telestaff sucks!

    Don't do it, Telestaff is not all its cracked up to be. In fact it's almost all nothing but problem after problem after problem. We have been using it for 4 or 5 years now, have all the upgrades and still its full of bugs. Its the only computer program I know that has multiple grievances filed against it by a union. I'll give you a short list of the problems we have had:
    Its let multiple people accept OT for a single position. Everyone shows up, some driving 1+ hours, and only one person gets the OT.
    It moves people around on its own(the damm things possessed I tell you) and the shift capt has to go back and fix the schedule.
    It moves people to the bottom of the OT list by itself and screws people out of OT. This one is really funny..... the police now use telestaff and both are interconnected so on more than one occasion firefighters have shown up for police details because its called us not the cops!
    Last week it skipped all the drivers for driver OT and called all the step-up drivers instead. Trying to figure out what it is saying over the phone is like trying to learn a new language. The list goes on and on and on.
    Their are a few positives:
    No more paperwork for vacation or shift swaps, you can put them directly into the schedule. You can access it from any computer anywhere which is really nice but it's not worth all the other BS you put up with. My neighbors dept just took it off line because of similar problems. Please don't ask me why we don't, probably because someone up top would loose their job after the thousands of dollars we have spent on it and sending one of our chiefs to the telestaff conferences in California. In our opinion it is a big waste of money and a big head ache.

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    We've been using it since '99 or 2000. Like I said, it's not perfect, but I don't believe we've had near the problems that Firemedic has described. We did have some challenges getting it to work with some of our specialty team minimum staffing issues. We do however, have one of our slower stations monitor telestaff to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to be doing. This station has additional access to the program and training.

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    We don't sign in, nor do we log every call we go on. Our station's doing 3000+ runs a year (40,000 for the department), so logging all of that would be a little tedious.

    We had one of our in-house computer geeks design a "day sheet" in Microsoft Access, and it works wonderfully. Every station's day sheet is exactly the same, and it allows us to record in a very user friendly environment:
    • Driver, Officer, FF on the engine
    • Driver, Officer, FF on the truck
    • Driver and Officer on the medic
    • Document that the vehicles were fueled during the shift
    • Document any vehicle, SCBA, or EMS discrepancies during the tour
    • Who's working, who's transferred, who's on overtime, who's off (for whatever reason)
    • Any training that occured during the day
    • PT completed by the members of the shift
    • Pre-plans, safety surveys, and the like

    We start the program at the beginning of the shift to document who's working and who's transferred, and the BC can pull it up from his office to review the staffing in his battalion for the day. It works well, we've been using it about 4 years now.

    Now, we also use TeleStaff, but in a much more limited fashion than most departments. We use it for overtime call-backs only. We don't enter leave or do anything else with it. In this limited capacity, we've had very good luck with it.

    A friend's department uses all functions of the TeleStaff system, and seems to generally be pleased with it.

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    We use an in-house IT staffing program (last time system had big problems IBM had to send specialists down to help, think most of the specialist were in diapers when the program first went live.) Every morning we have roll call (really easey in a one company and district officer house. It works well, tracks where everyone is. Our district majors do all the changes.

    We also log all our runs on the computer. Provides information if we were on the air or in quarters, type of run (fire, ems, rescue, service), time on the run, and gallons of water used. Just helps with our future planning.

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    A mark is taken in the company journal when you report for duty
    as in

    0810......Fr. Patrick Duffy......Engine Co. 17......RFD
    0810......Fr. John Smith........Engine Co. 17......RFD
    0814......Lt. Mike Taylor........Engine Co. 17.....RFD
    0815......Fr. Greg Stein.........Engine Co. 17.....COD
    0815......Fr. Kevin Murphy......Engine Co. 17....COD
    0815......Fr. Anthony Mazzei...Engine Co. 17.... A/R

    (RFD is technically Ready for Duty and COD is Continuing on Duty A/R is Awaiting Relief-meaning he is waiting for someone to relieve him from another fire company after the tour...it is an Overtime mark in red.)

    Then one could also enter RTQ (reports to quarters) or RFFD (Ready For Fire Duty)

    Then in the Officers Roll call (entered at 0900 or 1800 or thereafter if on a run) each member of the On duty platoon and the Incomming platoon for that afternons tours. On the 1800 roll call the officer enters mainly just variations of the mornings roll call.

    Then later on the Officer takes what is called a TPR mark in a book upstairs as to the particulars of hours worked which are collected by the Battalion and send to Payroll for processing.

    I left out much...just trying to simplify it for the forums. Alot is abrivated and varries according to particular marks.

    It is all a slight modification of what marks have been taken since 1865...certain things have been added or modified (Roll call used to be at 0800 many moons ago) but in large it is the same as it was then.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 12-11-2007 at 03:06 PM.

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    We're using a cross between the old and the new.

    A daybook is kept of all members who will be working that day, on each company. The daybook is filled out for the entire calendar year, and it includes all of your work reductions and vacation days.
    If a shift trade is made, it is entered into the daybook by the company officer. You can go thru the book and see exactly who was working and where. All aspects of the day are kept in there. This goes back to the first days of the department.
    The old books are kept at headquarters, so you can go back and pick up a specific year and know what went on on any given day.

    Overtime is only handed out on a 24 hour basis. Each morning, each company officer does the staffing for the next days shift, as well as the next work day for his own shift. Each member has to inform the company officer as to if they would like to be placed in the overtime list for the next work day.
    The company officer then submits all special duty volunteers to the respective battalion chief, who in turn submit their battalion staffing to the firefighting deputy chief downtown.

    Once the vacancies are accounted for, members who volunteered for overtime are then hired on a seniority basis. Members hired are then placed into vacancies by the respective battalion chiefs, who then notify the company officers, who then notify the member that they have been hired. That policy is exactly the same as it has been for over 100 years.


    We have recently implemented telestaff, and for the most part it is a failure. It is good in that you can see exactly who is working anywhere in the city. It is bad in that it crashes regularly, and just doesn't work. Now, my brothers department uses it with a great deal of success. It might just be a department size issue. His department is 4 stations, with about 30 members working each shift. We have close to 300 each tour. It could just be us though, it seems like all of the computer crap we get, turns to crap.


    As far as keeping track of who is at work and who is on time, etc... That is handled entirely by each company officer. Shift changeover is 0800, and that is when you're late. We don't punch in, sign in, or any other tracking method. Guys generally just show up, check the daybook to see what's up, and check in with the boss that at that time.
    Last edited by jasper45; 12-11-2007 at 05:21 PM.

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    How do you sign in at the start of your shift? Also, how do you mark down for overtime, sick and personal days?

    We have a sign in book that we have to sign each shift. Then there is a journal that we have to fill out for the days actives, calls and who is working. Then we also have a large time card (not individual) that we have to fill out for overtime hours, P-days and vacation.

    Anyone have a more streamlined way?


    I also want to know how you go about overtime list. How do you select who to call?
    Our vacation and personal days are marked on the master calendars at HQ.

    There are two.. one for day tours, the other for night tours.

    Vacations can be called in prior to the start of shift. The Captain or Acting Captain keeps track of how many personnel can be out on vacation tours as per our contract. If a slot is open, it can be taken.

    Personals require a 24 hour notice. There is some leeway with this if it is needed for a family emergency, etc.

    Sick days are called into HQ. Once again, the Captain or Acting Captain at HQ keeps track. (Filling out the cards and rosters and keeping track of things is something I don't miss since I got promoted! )

    The Captain fills out the daily attendance card (the official record) and the daily roster sheet (unofficial, but has all the info of the attendance card and copies of which are used as the ride list for the company officers and the Deputies.)


    The attendance card gets handed in to the office. Our Administrative Assistant enters the info into the city's payroll system.

    We also have half tours of vacation.. great if you have a school function to attend, a kid's sports event, boy scout meeting, etc. You can take the first half of the tour or the second half off, either days or nights. Half tours do affect vaction tours, as there may be only a half tour of vacation available on any given day. A firefighter myst state his/her intention to take a half tour of vacation prior to the start of the shift.

    Overtime is based on hours. The probies get the highest hours of the person on the group they are assigned to, excluding the hours of those with specialty jobs (Hazmat techs, Pub Ed, Arson team, vehicle maintenance, etc.) Those promoted to the officers ranks keep the hours they had in their previous rank.

    If the need for overtime comes up, the firefighter/officer (depending on what is needed to fill the slot) is asked based on low hours. If he/she refuses or takes it, they get charged the number of hours of the tour. If someone refuses, then the next person on the OT list is called. and so forth. if the list is exhausted and OT is still needed, the firefighter/officer with the low hours is ordered to stay. He/she can, however, use the paging system to see if someone would be willing to work ( and there usually is.... )

    As a Deputy Chief, the only OT I get is call backs and hazmat coverage.

    We will be going to a computerized attendance records system in January.. should be fun...
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 12-11-2007 at 06:16 PM.
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    We use an application from Aether Systems, Biokey, or Zoll I'm not sure who is servicing it these days. It is linked to our CAD program, so we do scheduling and run reporting with the same program.

    We pick all of our vacation in December for the next year, so that just got entered. The BC for the day makes out the roster at least five shifts in advance. They also mark down the sickies when they call in.

    Company officers enter time-trades, and OT for holdovers.

    It's not perfect, but it's not bad either.

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