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Hants & Berks 4x4 Response Optimizes Emergency Volunteer Service 36X

Regional rescue response team adds dashboards and analytics to automate emergency service management

23 06 Cs Hantsandberks Website


  • Saved over 1,000 hours per year on organizing rescue efforts
  • Established a COVID-19 dashboard within just two weeks
  • Automated scheduling and messaging to coordinate rescue volunteers
  • Connected with critical external data sources in a single dashboard

In Southern England, remote locations and uneven terrain can be difficult for emergency services to navigate during tough weather conditions. That’s when the 4×4 vehicle owners who volunteer as part of the Hants & Berks 4×4 Response team come to the rescue—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These responders dedicate their time and four-wheel-drive vehicles to help rescue or transport emergency workers and supplies through weather-beaten terrain in the region during disasters and emergencies.

An Urgent Request for Process Automation

When Axel Seedig stepped up to become the Chief Team Controller for Hants & Berks 4×4 Response, he inherited a process founded on an Excel spreadsheet that needed automation. A business analyst by profession, Seedig developed their Responder Manager application using Microsoft Access in an attempt to optimize their processes. Even so, he faced several challenges:

  • Outdated manual process. The controller team had to copy the necessary information from an Excel spreadsheet cell-by-cell into their Access database.
  • Inability to scale. As news about the charity circulated, the number of 4×4 volunteers grew 60 percent, making it difficult for the controllers to manage the extra workload.
  • Severe inefficiencies. The team lost about three hours each morning managing the volunteer and transport details for that day.
  • Restricted access. With three controllers working in different locations within the region, the Access database became difficult to use because, at any time, only one controller could connect to the data.

Seedig was familiar with Logi Symphony because his employer had used it for case management and technical support reporting. He explained, “Having
seen how my employer used it, I recognized its powerful capabilities, so I approached Logi Symphony about sponsoring a license for our charity. After I showed them the basic Responder Manager program I created, they agreed their solution could optimize our operations. The license they donated to our cause was the start of a successful partnership.”

Access to Multiple Data Sources

Adding Logi Symphony to the Responder Manager program required minimal effort. Seedig stated, “The solution is highly flexible and ensures a rapid
development of complex functionality within the application. Because of the comprehensive object-oriented development platform, I don’t need to code a user interface. If I had to write everything in PHP or something similar, it would be a nightmare.” He added, “If you’re familiar with SQL and style sheets, anything is possible with Logi Symphony.”

The Hants & Berks 4×4 controllers use Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise for its performance and flexibility when making efficient database queries. “This combination was relatively easy to integrate with Logi Symphony, whereas other solutions failed,” said Seedig.

He stated that a big advantage of using Logi Symphony is the ability to connect to the third-party data that keeps them in compliance with the public liability insurance requirements for each responder. Their database stores the information about the responders and customers—such as hospitals and home care facilities—who request their services.

A Wealth of Information From a Single Dashboard

“From our dashboard, we can see essential information about each rescue case, each volunteer, the schedule, and much more. We can also see how many cases our team worked on, how many miles they traveled to the rescue site, and how many responders were involved. With all of that information, Logi Symphony makes it easy to pull it all together in the application so we can work with it,” Seedig said.

And, when the COVID-19 virus hit, Seedig was able to update the dashboard within just two weeks to include the critical authorization and reporting information they needed to track pandemic-related services.

Critical information from multiple sources

From the dashboard, the 4×4 controllers can access a wealth of critical information as it pertains to each request. For example, they can see weather information from the Met Office (national meteorological service for the UK); flooding information from the Environment Agency; and road closures, congestion, and construction site information from Highways Agency (England’s
government company who maintains motorways). They can also link to maps by using a Google plug-in to check responder availability based on postal code and to direct responders to the safest route for the designated location.

Transparent and accurate reporting

The controllers can now include summary reports about the services they provided along with their customer invoices. Seedig said, “Our customers are
really happy with the reporting process and accuracy because everything is transparent for them. They’re also impressed with how quickly we can deliver results.”

Automated scheduling and messaging

The controller team can now manage scheduling from the dashboard. They can easily drill down to know which volunteers and controllers are available and when for planning purposes. In a similar way, they can create email or SMS messages when an urgent request comes in and track the responses that come back from the volunteers.

More time to handle additional transport-related

According to Seedig, “What used to take our controllers about 3 hours every day now takes 5 minutes.” The additional time has enabled the Hants & Berks 4×4 team to better serve their communities by transporting nurses and healthcare workers to look after their patients in remote or hard-to-reach areas. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team expanded services to help residents in these areas during the lockdown by delivering food, urgent prescriptions, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment.

A Versatile and Superior Solution

The Hants & Berks 4×4 Response controllers have made an impression with the greater 4×4 Response team for the United Kingdom. The management team in particular appreciates the more meaningful information in the statistical-based reports. Seedig said, “Our Responder Manager application is a versatile and superior tool because of Logi Symphony. The flexibility and performance that Logi Symphony provides is outstanding. For the doubters, we can assure them Logi Symphony isn’t just another BI tool. It’s the most flexible and comprehensive platform for web-based application development.

Before Logi Symphony, it took controllers about 3 hours every day to sort out deliveries for that particular day. Now it takes 5 minutes to do that same job.

Axel Seedig Chief Team Controller

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