The City and County of San Francisco’s Division of Emergency Communications has 160 public safety dispatchers who collectively provide round-the-clock 9-1-1 emergency assistance. To improve the agency’s management of the complex and fluctuating staffing requirements, FUSE executive fellow Marilyn Varnado worked with the agency to reduce staff scheduling challenges and enhance the efficiency of emergency response services.

Marilyn found that a key roadblock to effective scheduling was the lack of technical tools and training. She created an automated tool using Excel to support weekly schedule development and helped its adoption through staff training and education. The new tool is drastically increasing the division’s ability to predict staffing needs, eliminate scheduling disruptions and, ultimately, elevate the level of emergency services available to residents.