Introducing the Text Command Interface and Text-To-Call

Today we released the beta of our Text Command Interface (TCI) for Resgrid. This allows your personnel to interact with Resgrid completely via Text Messages. Allowing all your personnel to get access to complex features and perform actions by sending simple commands to a private number. In addition to allowing personnel without smartphones to use Resgrid on-the-go the TCI feature also allows personnel that are in areas with bad cell data coverage to use the system.

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We are very excited about this feature. Our goal is to allow Resgrid to be utilized by as many communication means as possible because we know that not all places have good cell data coverage. In addition to enabling a text communications channel we are working hard on re-tooling our mobile apps to allow them to work offline and use less data when connected.

Resgrid also recently started importing dispatches via Text Messages called the Text-To-Call system. Both the Text-To-Call and the Text Command Interface can be used at the same time. Eventually we will be exposing more functionality via text messaging like generating reports, performing complex actions and retrieving information.

Currently Text-To-Call and Text Command are limited to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. We will be working hard to expose this functionality to other countries as soon as we can.

Below we will show how to enable the Text Command Interface and Text-To-Call.

Step 1

Log into Resgrid as a department administrator and open up the department menu. Select the Text Messaging option.

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Step 2

Select the option you want enabled. Note if you want both Text-To-Call and Text Command enabled you must supply a list of source phone numbers that text dispatches will originate from. Resgrid uses the ‘From Number’ field in the text messages to determine if the text message is for someone in your department or from dispatch.

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Click the “No Phone Number” button to bring up a popup allowing you to select your departments private text number.

Step 3

Once you’ve selected your country from the drop down the Phone Numbers table below will populate with numbers to choose. Select the number you want to use as your departments private text number. Note that these numbers most likely won’t be in your area code, but long distance charges don’t apply to text messages only voice calls.

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Step 4

Once you have selected your number, supply inbound dispatch numbers (if you are going to use Text-To-Call with Text Command) and select your inbound dispatch message type. If your type is not listed you can use the Generic type, or contact us to create a type for you.

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Step 5

Each Text Command user of Resgrid will need to supply their Mobile Number that they will be sending Text Commands from. This is how Resgrid will know what person each command is coming from. Their mobile number, and carrier are required. If your carrier isn’t listed contact us and we will get it added for you. They should also ensure that the Text/SMS checkboxes are enabled for both Message and Call options. Each user can configure their own profile in Resgrid or a department or group admin (if the users are in a station group) can configure their users for them.

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Text Commands

Here is a list of the text commands we support and what the result will be when you text that command to Resgrid. These are just the commands we are launching with, there will be many more added in the future.

Text Command Short Command Area Result
responding 1 Status Sets user status to Responding
notresponding 2 Status Sets user status to Not Responding
onscene 3 Status Sets user status to On Scene
available 4 Status Sets user status to Available
normal s1 Staffing Sets user staffing to Normal\Available
delayed s2 Staffing Sets user staffing to Delayed Response
unavailable s3 Staffing Sets user staffing to Unavailable
committed s4 Staffing Sets user staffing to Committed
onshift s5 Staffing Sets user staffing to On Shift
help General Text back commands to user

You will receive text message reply’s and confirmations from Resgrid from a different number, so they won’t be threaded in your text/sms client. In the future we will work on having those all route thorough the same number. We are very exited to add this support to Resgrid and extend Resgrid to first responder organizations that otherwise might not be able to get the most out of the system.

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Why Resgrid?

In the personnel logistics space for first responders there are some options out there. A number of those options are cloud based offerings with mobile applications. A question we get is why a first responder organization should choose Resgrid over anyone else? Below are some of the reasons we feel that you should use our software and what sets us apart from anyone else out there.

Flexible System

Our entire system is flexible, componentized and modular. It’s been designed from the ground up to go anywhere and be scaled up on demand. Resgrid is currently a shared cloud offering (all departments utilize the same infrastructure) but with minimal effort the system could additionally be deployed to another shared cloud, say at a datacenter in the United Kingdom or Europe, so better serve customers there. Or say your organization is large and you want to run Resgrid on your own private infrastructure, we support that as well. It’s important that not all organizations want to be on the cloud, or on a shared cloud. So Resgrid offers private cloud, in datacenters located around the world, and onsite options where you run Resgrid for yourself on your own hardware.

Constant Updates and Latest Technology

Resgrid is about to celebrate it’s 2nd birthday. In that timespan it’s gone from a personnel responding/not responding app to a full blown dispatch, apparatus, personnel, resource and department management system. We update almost every week to fix a bug, add a new feature, refine existing features and perform maintenance. Our Updates page speaks for itself, we have a to-do list with 2 years worth of work (new features) right now, and were adding new features to work on every day. With Resgrid the system will never feel outdated, you will have all the latest features. Need something added, or modified to meet your needs? We prize ourselves on being responsive to our customers and evolving the system to meet their needs now and in the future.

Customer Service

We pride ourselves on being responsive to our customers needs and issues. We understand that dealing with technology can sometimes be a painful and frustrating process. It is our mission to ensure that our product and services will meet your needs and that any issues are addressed quickly and to your satisfaction.

Open Infrastructure

We have an Open API that allows anyone to build their own integrations and applications. Have an IT or Development team at your origination or a tech savvy member? You have the flexibility to extend Resgrid to meet your specific and custom needs. This also means that Resgrid can directly integrate with any backend system, i.e. CAD System, Records Management, Staff/Personnel System, etc with a little work. We use our own API for our applications and integrations, so we know the API works and it’s constantly being tested.

Complete Package

In Resgrid you can manage all of these elements and more:

Personnel

      Response, Staffing Level, Availability, Location, Certifications, Roles (AO/Captain/Firefighter/EMT/etc)

Apparatus

      Unit Availability, Maintenance Logs, Tracking, Usage, Response, Accountability

Dispatch

      Call creation, management, dispatching personnel (Via text messages email and push notifications), import from existing CAD, and record activity

Station

      Station management, response area, geo-fencing, personnel and apparatuses

Department

      Mass message users from the system, share documents, share notes (like phone number lists, gate codes, etc), calendar, and more

Reporting

      Instantly report on activity, events, calls, availability, staffing, certifications and more.

Management

      Users, stations and departments can update and maintain their own profiles and information. Easing the administrative burden of turnover and existing members.

We understand that Resgrid isn’t for every organization and that’s ok. Our system is completely free for departments of up to 10 personnel, yes free. Even if you don’t want to use Resgrid right now create an account (reserve your Department name) and check back every week or so and see what we’re adding. Maybe you have some suggestions or issues, you’d be surprised how quickly we can get those in.

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Resgrid for your Volunteer Fire Department

Volunteer originations have a lot of challenges relating to the nature of their personnel. Coordination of personnel, response to events/incidents, active communications and sharing and dissemination of knowledge and vital information can be challenging.

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Existing technologies and methods of communicating and coordinating with volunteer forces work, but require giving people expensive technology, using multiple methods (Email, Text Messages, Radio, Mail, etc) and maintaining all that data in different places.

Volunteer Fire Departments, Paid-On-Call and Combination Districts all have the fundamental issue of personnel logistics more so then most other departments. Usually these departments have higher staffing levels, due to the relative low cost of volunteer or paid-on-call personnel these departments normally have more personnel the money or communication equipment.

In addition to just communicating, sharing and storing information can be difficult, requiring multiple systems and methods to store all the types of information. Ever use your email inbox as a way to store door or gate codes or other important information?

How does Resgrid help Volunteer Fire Departments help coordinate their personnel? By enabling department to utilize their personnel’s existing mobile devices and having all information easily accessible via mobile application or the web.

Personnel Coordination

Using Resgrid your personnel can monitor what all other personnel are doing, from responding to the scene of an incident, to going enroute to a station to pick up an apparatus. Your personnel can also report their own staffing level, for example (Available, Delayed, Unavailable, Committed, etc) allowing command staff and other personnel to know what personnel are available to respond to an incident.

Apparatus Coordination

Resgrid allows your apparatuses to submit status, read call information, coordinate information in an easy to use manner. Because Resgrid runs on standard over the counter hardware, like Android tablets or iPad’s, the cost of adding geolocation, call information, electronic accountability is low. Your personnel can view if an apparatus is in service, out of service for repairs or committed on another assignment. The Resgrid Unit application will also work on smart phones.

Information Sharing

Resgrid allows all your personnel to be stored in one place a short list of what can be managed and controlled all from within Resgrid:

  • Station Assignment
  • Roles (like Firefighter, Operator, Captain, EMT, etc)
  • Certifications or Qualifications
  • Department Schedule
  • Notes
  • Documents (like PDF’s, Images, Excel, Word Docs, etc)
  • Logs and Narratives
  • Meetings

Because Resgrid is constantly evolving your will be able to track and maintain more and more information your from Resgrid.

Bring Your Own Device

The vast majority of personnel will have a smart phone. Resgrid runs on those mobile phones allowing seamless accesses of your departments information as well and communicating their status, staffing level and responding to dispatch’s and incidents.

Utilizing commodity, every day hardware keeps Resgrid’s cost down, allows it to work on the vast majority of hardware in many conditions (Online and Offline). In addition to Phones, Resgrid applications work on all major tablets and Windows computers.

Cloud platform

Resgrid runs on the cloud, so there is no hardware to buy, not large purchases, no contacts or IT staff to hire. Also there is no additional workload. Resgrid updates every week and it monitored and maintained by Resgrid 24/7.

3rd Party Support/Open API

We at Resgrid firmly believe in sharing information and integrating with 3rd parties and legacy systems. Because of these Resgrid as an open API that allows anyone to build applications or integrate Resgrid with any system, for example a CAD system or records management system.

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Introducing the Resgrid System

We originally started working on Resgrid in July 2012, with our first usable system deployed to the web (and Apple’s App Store) in October 2012. Since that time we have over 500 departments signed up and utilizing the system, submitting feedback and helping make Resgrid better. Resgrid is a complete cloud based logistics solution for first responder organizations, like volunteer fire departments, career fire departments, emt\ems services, ambulance services, search and rescue, hazmat teams, public safety and many more.

Resgrid_JustText-WhiteBGSo what is Resgrid and why does it matter to your first responder organization? Resgrid is a cloud based all-in-one logistics and management solution for your department with mobile apps on Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store and Microsoft’s Windows Store. Resgrid also offers private managed cloud deployments where your department will be the only one on the infrastructure and local installs. Resgrid has a free plan for small departments that will always be available and will always be free.

Resgrid allows your personnel, units (apparatuses), and stations to coordinate effectively and efficiently utilizing bring your own device (BYOD) and commodity hardware. No expensive laptops, servers or even tablets. Your personnel can use their own phones and access responder and unit functions right from their own phones. We can create and blast calls/dispatches out via email, push notifications and text messages, including call audio from providers like eDispatches as well. You personnel and log their actions on and off of a call, take notes on units, send messages with other members and set their staffing level (availability to respond).

In addition to all that functionality Resgrid is constantly evolving with every request you make. If you need a feature we will work hard to get into the system. We are rapidly evolving Resgrid to meet the changing needs and requirement of first responders worldwide. We update Resgrid almost weekly to ensure bugs and issues are fixed in a timely manner and your high priority feature requests are delivered to you as soon as possible. This of us as your own software engineering department.

Some of the major features of Resgrid are:

  • Personnel Tacking
    • Responding to a Call/Station
    • Staffing Level’s (Available, Delayed, Committed, etc)
    • Geo-Location and ETA’s
    • Automate Staff level changes (i.e. delayed/unavailable when at work, available when at home)
  • Unit (Apparatus) Tracking
    • Responding to Calls (On Scene, Committed, Released, Returning, etc)
    • Accountability (Personnel on the Unit)
    • Unit Assignment
    • Note taking
    • Geo-Location and ETA’s
  • Calls and Dispatching
    • Dispatch Users, Groups, Stations or Roles
    • Geolocation and tracking information
    • Log call details, actions and notes
  • Groups, Roles and Shifts
    • Create station and organizational groups
    • Create roles for personnel (i.e. Driver, Engineer, Firefighter, EMT, etc)
    • Delegate Responsibility to Group/Station Admins
    • Create Shifts and assign personnel to shifts. Assign shifts to stations and units to stations.
  • Logging and Reporting
    • Log call actions, non call (station time) work
    • Report on staffing level, availability, responses
    • Schedule reports to be sent you, i.e. morning staffing report
  • Coordination and Storage
    • Department Wide Calendar and Station Calendars
    • Upload Documents, form, images and preplans.

We are constantly working on improving Resgrid to meet your needs. Or goal is to build a complete solution for all your logistical and management needs. Our development will never stop and we will ensure you will have the most up to date, usable system for your department and personnel. Resgrid can be implemented as a stand along system or integrated into your existing systems, i.e, an existing CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system via our API. If you have any questions you can always email us at team@resgrid.com and head on over to http://resgrid.com to signup and try the system today.

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Guide: Department Settings

Even though Resgrid is barely a year old it’s a pretty complex system. Our goal it to make it as easy as possible as we iterate on functionality and features. But through this guide series we will strive to create some easy to read and understand guides to the Resgrid system. One of the more complex areas is the Department Settings area. In this guide we will go over all the screens in the Department Settings area and provide help and feedback on the options contained within.

Department Information

Here you can change your departments name (needs to be unique) and the time zone your department operates in. If we don’t have your time zone listed you can contact us and we will add it. The managing user is the primary account for the department, they have full control of the department. The managing user cannot be deleted or disabled, but it can be hidden. The managing user can turn other users in the department into admins

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Big Board Settings

The Big Board is the page you can have on screens at your station to display the current status of units, personnel and calls. In this section you can set the zoom level, page refresh time and the maps center address. The address supplied is used to center the map to allow all your geolocated units/personnel/calls to display. If the address is not working the map will default to Carson City, NV.

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Groups

There are 2 types of groups in Resgrid, organization and station. Station Groups have an address as they are a physical location and organizational groups which are just used to group users, for example having an Inactive or Support organizational group for personnel. You can have Organizational groups under station groups, for example the Station 6 group can have the Test Group under it. This allows you to have 2 levels of group organization in your department. When creating a group you should specify one user as a Group Admin. This will allow that user to be able to add/remove people from the group and set the status for the group, without giving them departmental control. The Department’s Managing Member and Department Admins have full group control.

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Department Address

This is the primary fallback address for the department as a whole. This can be the address of the administration building or district office in the case of multi station departments or just the address of the station in a single station environment.

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Call Settings

Here you can add the types of calls you receive, for example Medical, Cardiac Arrest, Outside Fire, Building Fire, Public Assist, Hazmat Spill, etc. These are optional, but eventually will be used to assist in dispatching units/personnel to calls.

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Call Email Settings

Resgrid can import calls from any POP3 accessible email box, i.e. Gmail. Resgrid will scan the email box for certain email types and import them as calls and dispatch the entire department. If the type of email you receive is not in the list of Email Types you can email team@resgrid.com and will create a email type for you. If you have control of the emails we recommend the Resgrid Email format type. You can have Resgrid automatically close (Prune) email imported calls after a certain time frame (Minutes to keep calls open). Resgrid will check for new call emails every 5 minutes and you can see the status in the “Worker Status” area just above the Call Email Settings section. If there is an error message please read it as you email account information might be incorrect.

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Unit Types

Unit types are another optional organizational tool. Unit Types allows you to group your units into a category, for example “Structure Engine” verses a “Brush Truck”. In the future this information will aid automatic dispatching of units.

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Guide: Setting up a New Department in Resgrid

One of your very first experiences with Resgrid will be signing up a new department in the Resgrid system. Only one person in your department needs to set up the department initially. When they do they will create the department that everyone else will join into. This guide will walk you through setting up a new department in the Resgrid system and inviting users into your department. You want to ensure that everyone gets invites to the department and that they don’t sign up and create a new department on their own, as then they will be unable to see other users/units/information that is contained in the other department.

Step 1: The very first thing you will need to do is browser to http://resgrid.com and click the Sign Up link in the upper right hand corner.

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Step 2: You need to fill out the signup form. Enter in your first and last name in the Full Name box, your username, email address and password. For the “Department or Organization Name” field supply the name of your department. This can be the full name like “Central County Fire Protection District” or be a partial name like “Central County FPD, CCPFD”. Department names have to be unique, and we recommend they be short, but meaningful.

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Step 3: Your department is now setup in Resgrid. Now you can invite users into the department by clicking the Personnel link in the right hand menu and selecting the Manage Invites button in the middle of the page.

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Step 4: On the Manage Invites screen you can enter in the email addresses separated  by commas. Your members will get an email that will allow them to create an account for Resgrid.

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Step 5: Once the invites have been sent you can track their status in the Existing Invites section of the Mange Invites page.

 

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Step 6: In the top right hand corner of the web page once you log into Resgrid you will see 2 menus. 1 will have the name of the department and the other will have your name. These are the Department and User menus and they allow you to manage settings. If you click on the department menu as a Managing Member or Department Admin you will see all the options you can set for a department.

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Make sure to check out all the tabs in the Department Settings pages to ensure you have everything set the way you want it.

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Deployment Complete

We have finished deploying Resgrid to production. This deployment includes a Big Board for displays on a wall monitor and unit (apparatus) support. You can find out what else was in this update by visiting the Updates page (http://resgrid.com/Public/Updates). 

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Deployment Complete

We’ve finished our deployment of Resgrid to production. No downtime should have been occurred. You can find out what was in this update by visiting the Updates page (http://resgrid.com/Public/Updates). 

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Deploying

We are deploying Resgrid to production. Shouldn’t take long.

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Deployment Delayed

Apparently Microsoft is having a certificate issue that is preventing deployments, we’ve delayed our deployment until Microsoft resolves it’s certificate issue.

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