News & Media

Pager rollout

By: CFA News

Category: Operational Information

  6.50 PM 3 May, 2013


Location: General

Views: 3762

VFBV’s Advice to volunteers

The rollout of new pagers is set to go ahead, VFBV has secured commitments to a program of
continuing improvements based on volunteer/user feedback, and the VFBV Board now encourages all members to participate in the pager replacement roll-out program.

CFA, ESTA and VFBV met today (Friday, 3 May) to consider the outcomes and feedback from the validation trial.  The data collected and additional advice from validation trial participants indicate the Alpha Legend pager has performed better with re-programming and setup adjustments and is now much closer to meeting the end user‘s needs than the configuration that was originally presented for field evaluation late in 2012.

KEY ASPECTS / OUTCOMES

Issue:

VFBV’s position to expand the Alpha Legend pager evaluation of fixes from the original 25 to 400 pagers, to allow for a more thorough field evaluation. The inclusion of all CFA Groups as part of this short but more widespread validation trial.

Comment:

ESTA and CFA agreed and a two week trial through late April 2013 to ensure a more robust user evaluation of the pager programming fixes occurred.  All CFA Groups were required to be included in this trial.

Issue:

Validation testing of 5 key programming fixes to the Alpha Legend pager usability after the 2012 field trial.

Comment:

From responses, the five re-programming solutions have proved viable

Only 153 survey response from trial participants, however no opportunity to add comments has influenced this result.

Issue:

CFA and ESTA to establish a process to monitor roll-out and user feedback in order to evaluate the introduction of these new pagers and recommend further programming and usability adjustments.

Comment:

In discussions with CFA and ESTA, this process is agreed and will be confirmed in writing to VFBV.

Issue:

A process to monitor the user training and support that CFA provides for ‘user help’ during the roll-out and initial bedding down period.

Comment:

Agreed and written confirmation will confirm.

Issue:

VFBV has sought the ongoing monitoring of the replacement pagers by the formation of a CFA User
Reference Panel
along with ESTA to monitor user feedback and to consider and recommend further programming and usability upgrades.  This has been agreed and the CFA User Reference Panel will be formed from stakeholder user groups, including end user volunteer representatives through VFBV.

Comment:

Agreed and written confirmation will confirm.

ESTA, CFA and VFBV agreed that this process will promote a continuous improvement framework to ensure the selected pager will continue to evolve and improve over its service life.

Issue:

ESTA to re-format their message structure to remove the ESTA incident coding from the beginning of alert messages; this initiative was seen as very important to ensure mission critical responder information was easier to access on the smaller Alpha Legend pager screen.

Comment:

ESTA to advise CFA and VFBV of the process to plan and deliver a Message Template change for CFA pagers. The opportunity through the User reference Panel will be taken to review the entire message format to achieve the best message format and construct possible. ESTA will provide written advice on the details and projected timelines by end of May 2013.

Issue:

CFA and ESTA with VFBV to resolve the lack of visual alert functionality and agree to finding a solution including an approved allocation policy and procedure by 30 June 2013

Comment:

Issue as yet not resolved, however, all parties have agreed to work towards a solution by 30 June 2013.

Issue:

Changeover process and ‘one for one’ changeover. VFBV request of CFA to clarify the allocation will be as above and that additional pager  allocations to Brigades and Groups above those allocated at the changeover will be upon the Officer in Charge’s request to CFA based on ‘operational justification’.

Comment:

CFA agreed that the current process of operationally justifying additional pagers will continue.

VFBV’s POSITION

The VFBV Board advises all members that the pager validation trial has confirmed that the Alpha Legend pager has met the test described by the five programming upgrades sought by volunteers. Despite some reservations there is insufficient reason for volunteers to refuse to participate in the pager changeover program. Accordingly, the VFBV Board recommends that volunteers accept the new pager and return the old pager, as part of the roll-out program.

In making this recommendation, VFBV acknowledges that:

  • The change to a new pager was necessary to ensure there is never a repeat of the pager system overload and failures experienced during and following Black Saturday 2009.
  • The move of Ambulance Victoria (AV) across to a separate channel will ensure that
    additional capacity exists for CFA and VICSES to have confidence that Emergency
    Alert and other circuit messages get through to responders and users quickly
    and as designed.
  • The need to move forward with a solution as the old X3 pagers are no longer
    manufactured and are close to their serviceable life span and in many cases are
    irreparable when they fail.

In seeking a solid monitoring and user feedback process, VFBV required undertakings from ESTA and CFA to ensure the replacement pager continues to evolve in both usability and functionality right through its service life.

Last Updated: 30 January 2014