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Although TeamSnap is most often used for sports, we’re always excited to learn about other groups that find ways to use our service. We spoke with Charles Kniffen, fire fighter and treasurer at the City of Troy Fire Department Station 5 in Michigan, to learn about their creative use of TeamSnap to manage their department.
Tell us a bit about your fire department.
The city of Troy is 36 square miles with six volunteer fire stations. Each fire station has an association consisting of around 30 active volunteer members and the retirees of that station. The association is responsible for providing station training, running the station and the association and managing the budget. The fire fighters are not paid, but, if they meet all the requirements and stay in good standing for a certain number of years, they receive a deferred compensation.
What are the organizational challenges you face?
Training is held at our station every Monday, except the first Monday of the month which is when we hold association meetings. During association meetings we make important decisions such as what equipment we are going to purchase, we review and edit tactical plans and we develop strategic plans for the future.
Firefighters have to attend 10 mandatory city meetings and perform a minimum number of training hours in order to stay in good standing.
With these various meetings and training requirements we had some challenges that arose:
- Keeping members aware of mandatory training dates, locations, and start times.
- Knowing how many members are going to show up for training, which has an effect on the type and effectiveness of the training.
- Tracking how many members are showing up for the dinner meetings so we can plan the meals effectively.
- Keeping retirees and their widows aware of upcoming events and news.
How did you learn about TeamSnap?
I started using TeamSnap for my daughter’s soccer team and immediately realized the site could be easily used to address our organizational challenges. TeamSnap allows us to provide effective training for the fire fighters and make sure that everyone stays informed. The site sends the emails reminding the fire fighters of training and dinners and allows them to change their availability status. As a result, we can better plan our monthly dinner meetings, preparing food in appropriate quantities, and better prepare for our training sessions.
Beyond keeping the department organized, are you using TeamSnap for anything else?
In urgent situations, information can be sent via text immediately to the entire station allowing us to plan accordingly.