The United Fire Brigades’ Association (UFBA) has been uniting teams and individuals across New Zealand for 140 years. Today the UFBA represents more than 540 fire brigades and fire forces throughout the country, including volunteer, paid, rural, urban, industry and defence brigades.
The UFBA events team plans and hosts many challenges for firefighters. This includes the firefighter combat challenge, as well as the waterway, road crash and drivers' challenges. All are designed to align with the Fire and Emergency NZ training manual and incorporate many exercises to test people on what they could encounter in a real life situation. For instance, exercises may include difficult driving manoeuvres, six-storey tower climbs, simulated vehicle accident rescues and fire hose skills.
Prior to working with Aiscorp, UFBA was using three Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for scoring the challenges, to keep a record of historical data, and to keep track of event timetables. These files became more complicated and arduous to manage as competition sizes grew. As the files took increasingly more time, there were also unacceptable delays in producing and announcing results.
The UFBA began looking into a solution to better manage data, and accurately and efficiently score the events. The team wanted to be able to store past results and for the system to be sufficiently secure as it would hold confidential information. Most importantly, it needed to be easy to use and reliable, accessible to all team members, and to remove stress from staff and competitors.
Aiscorp was tasked with creating an application that replaced all existing Excel spreadsheets used to run and report on the National, North Island and South Island Combat Competitions. It was decided that a SQL Express Database with a web application front-end would be the most cost effective option.
To create the database, Aiscorp and the UFBA met over a number of workshops to define the scope, inputs and required outputs of the database. Aiscorp created, tested and successfully deployed the new system, and also trained UFBA staff within the planned time frame. The UFBA now has a consolidated database for scoring the competition and holding historical scores, with the added ability to create outputs of pdf reports and utilise a mail merge for certificates.
"We have really enjoyed working with Aiscorp. They have come up with solutions that we had not thought of for our scoring systems. It has been beneficial for them to come to our events and troubleshoot any last minute issues. I feel that Aiscorp has a full understanding of our needs and has been a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Aiscorp as your IT solution provider."
- Julia Costa, Event Manager, United Fire Brigades’ Association
The new database provides the UFBA with reliability, scalability, ease of access and ease of use, and successfully reduces the anxiety and stress caused from the previous spreadsheet setup.
The database is hosted locally and can operate offline on selected laptops, meaning the UFBA can confidently use the database in remote areas where internet access is not available. The database has the capability to be backed up to USB when required and then backed up online when internet access becomes available.
Another key advantage is the added security and data protection for confidential and personal information. When connected to the internet, the database can be uploaded online with secure internal access. This allows users in the organisation to access the information within tightly controlled permissions. These permissions ensure only selected users have specific access in specific areas, greatly reducing the potential of data leakage.
Finally, the new database implemented by Aiscorp enables the UFBA team to search for and access information in the format they need, making it much easier to find and utilise specific details.
The new UFBA database brings many benefits, including:
- Significant time savings when searching for and utilising data
- The ability to search for and use data in different formats
- Enhanced security for confidential and personal information
- The ability to announce results faster following competitions
- Smoother operational management pre and post event
- Less stress and time pressure on staff members
- More time for the UFBA team to focus on creating a high quality event
- Workshopping and consultation
- A SQL Database with a website interface
- PDF exported reports
- Excel export and word import for editable Mail Merge capabilities
- Testing with UFBA staff
- Half-day user training
- Two on-call weekend support instances