‘Saving Lives and Protecting Property’ with a Predictive Staffing Model

Student Capstone Project

E-Comm is the largest emergency communications centre in British Columbia and the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts across the province. E-Comm also provides call-taking and dispatch services for more than 70 police and fire agencies and owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service wide‐area radio network in B.C. used by police, fire, and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2018, E-Comm handled nearly 1.6 million 9-1-1 calls.

Recently, E-Comm partnered with UBC Master of Data Science (MDS) program during their capstone project, which saw students from the program help the emergency communications agency leverage existing data to ensure its service levels and employee engagement could be maintained as call volumes fluctuated.

E-Comm and the MDS team studied how various sets of data could be examined to develop emergency call-taking and dispatch schedules. The research focused on multiple sets of numbers and indicators including call volumes, scheduling records, and employee absences to help the organization better predict staffing models that would match varying call volumes throughout the day.

E-Comm answers more than 4,000 9-1-1 calls each day in its two emergency communications centres—one in Vancouver (the largest 9-1-1 facility in B.C.) and the other in Saanich, serving central and southern Vancouver Island communities.

Being able to see and analyze this data in various ways will help E-Comm ensure they have the right people with the right skill-set working at the right time to continue to deliver top-notch emergency communications for the citizens of B.C.

Through this project, E-Comm learned the value of collecting and studying this type of data and how they can use it in their employee recruitment, scheduling, engagement, and retention initiatives.

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