OPCD featured in a technology blog on how we use QuickBase to execute our mission.
From staff scheduling to rapid improvements in dispatch call speed, Quick Base helps New Orleans 9-1-1 save more lives without breaking the bank or waiting for developers.
- Inability to pre-plan scheduling or monitor staff availability in real time
- Difficulty tracking and managing paper-based documents such as staff certifications
- Needed immediate access to third-party information to better serve the public and save lives
- Quick Base as a tool to improve scheduling, staffing, and other processes
- Simplify every effort from timesheet entries to tracking cell phone locations
- Flexibility to expand functionality and improve speed of information access
- Automate the compilation and publication of a daily offense log
- One-button access to life and resource saving information
- Automated alerts and instantly updated status for better, faster response
- Eliminated 90% of paper-based processes
- Automated tasks and workflows that cut hours out of daily and weekly processes and reports
New Orleans is known for big events from Mardi Gras to 10 Super Bowls over the years. During these events the population of New Orleans can swell from 500,000 residents to well over a million with visitors. Keeping the public safe is the job of New Orleans 9-1-1, a centralized hub of 16 support staff and 150 telecommunicators who coordinate Police, Fire, and EMT response. It’s a 24×7 job with a lot of responsibility, and it begins long before a call comes in.
In 2017, shift management became a focal point for change. Manual, frequently updated scheduling books, that were prone to errors and not always current, were causing last-minute staffing gaps that required lots of juggling to fill them.
“For most businesses a staffing issue is an inconvenience, but in a 9-1-1 call center it can mean life or death,” says Tyrell Morris, executive director of the Orleans Parish Communication District (New Orleans 9-1-1). “Our mission is to get the right people to the right place at the right time.”
To further optimize the Agency’s efforts, Morris also wanted a way to drive greater operational visibility, speed information access, and automate notifications on everything from staffing changes to incident reports. Quick Base became the conduit to that and more.
To quickly improve shift management and simplify scheduling, Morris created an application on Quick Base.
“Quick Base enabled me to build a simple online scheduling app for the staff that is tied to a real-time dashboard with automatic alerts for me,” says Morris. “Now everything is in one place and I can proactively see and address potential staffing issues well before they can become problems.”
Fast forward one year and Morris has not only earned his Quick Base Builder Certification, but also built out that application to include over 29 helpful new features. They simplify all things related to HR, information access, and even inventory. Morris also relied on Juiced Technologies, a Quick Base Solution Provider, to build a reporting tool that automatically compiles a federally mandated daily offense log for publication.
According to Morris, one of the platform’s most transformative capabilities is the ability to easily interface with external resources via Open APIs.
“I learned about Open API calls in an online Quick Base University course while studying for my certification exam,” he says. “Putting them to use so that we can instantly access information in other databases has further strengthened our ability to help protect and serve the public.”
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Quick Base features Morris has built into his application have saved lives. For example, he devised a single button action that automatically connects dispatchers to a third-party service that helps them locate any phone number about 10 minutes faster than before. Recently that speed helped responders save the life of a suicidal teenager on the banks of the Mississippi river.
Seamless integration with the city’s incident notification system ensures fast response to fires and other emergencies as well as non-emergency situations like intersection closures. The application’s interface with the Department of Public Works empowers dispatchers to check tow records when a car is reported stolen, preventing unnecessary police dispatches.
In the office, Quick Base has reduced paper-based processes by 90% and streamlined tasks. For instance, supervisors can now trigger an automated workflow with online notifications, approval alerts, and calendar updates to simplify and speed “substitution of shift” requests. Another good example is the federally mandated report of major offenses that used to take three hours a day to compile. Now, with a few mouse clicks it’s ready to publish to the media by 8:00 AM.
“When it comes to public safety, Quick Base has been instrumental in helping New Orleans 9-1-1 support fast, informed, and coordinated response across Police, Fire, and EMS services,” says Morris. “It has also enabled our Agency to operate much more efficiently.”