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Software upgrade for EAS pagers
The Emergency Alerting System (EAS) Pager Pilot Program is now finished, after more than 2,000 CFA, MFB, SES and Ambulance Victoria members trialled the new units.
The pagers will now be updated based on member feedback. In particular, there will be upgrades to the software that has not yet been accepted as suitable for operational use on the EAS Network.
Updates to the pagers will include:
- Members will no longer have to scroll to the end of each message in order to stop it beeping
- All time settings will be coordinated over the air and the manual time changing settings will be removed to reduce confusion
- The two stickers on the back of the pager (‘Alpha Legend EAS’ and the white ‘Unication’ sticker) will be combined into one sticker that also contains the EAS helpdesk number (1800 604 977). The space taken up by the current Alpha Legend EAS sticker will used by the agency to place a Dymo® or similar label to identify the pager.
The first batch of 10,000 pagers will arrive in February with the rollout expected to commence 1 March after quality assurance tests have been completed.
Below are some frequently asked questions from the Pager Pilot Program:
Q. The pager continually beeps after a message has been read. It is annoying, can this be removed?
To silence the beep, the message needs to be read completely to the end. This involves scrolling down to the last line of the message. Based on member feedback and support from the agency representatives this feature will be removed in the final version of software.
Q. My pager came programmed with the wrong paging numbers (capcodes). Why did this happen?
The paging numbers that were programmed into the pagers were taken directly from the EAS main database – known as VIPER. If the numbers were incorrect this was typically due to the user’s details or pager allocation not being updated in VIPER by agency representatives.
Q. Why is there no event logging feature that the current pager has?
The event logging feature was not considered a mandatory requirement by agency representatives. As a result of this the functionality was not specified.
Q. The battery did not seem to last as long as expected.
The battery should be swapped when the low battery alert/indicator comes on. When the battery indicator shows ¼ life remaining, there’s still adequate charge within the battery to operate the pager for a lot longer.
Q. I have found that in some instances the new pager missed messages whereas the current pager received the message. We were told the new pager was more sensitive, how can this be?
The current pager is very ‘noisy’ with regards to interference, which makes it difficult for the new pager to decode messages properly. It is advised that the two pagers should not be worn close together or positioned next to each other.
Missed messages were also due to the pager not being programmed correctly with the correct paging numbers.
Q. The current pager has a new feature where you can silence all alerts using one menu selection. Can the new pager do this?
The new pager has the ability to silence all alerts via the main menu. This will be included in the training documents and videos.
Q. Why do I have to set the time when the current pager is able to have the time reset by the network?
The pager now has the capability to have its time set by the network, ensuring that its time is GPS synchronised. The manual time selection will be removed in the next version of software.
Q. The current pager has the user’s name programmed in the advance menu. Why can’t this be enabled on the new pager?
The current method for programming a name is not possible with the new pager. The vendor will provide an area on the back of the pager for an adhesive label (i.e. Dymo ® label or similar) for user identification purposes.
Q. The screen is smaller than the current pager. Will this affect its use?
Although the new pager has a smaller screen, the font sizes are the same for the small and
large font. When you receive long messages, you’ll need to scroll the message more than with the current pager. You’ll need to get used to this, but the other benefits of the new pager far outweigh the smaller screen size.
Q. It’s more difficult to remove the new pager from the holster.
The holster has been designed to completely protect the pager from knocks and external damage, which has been a problem with the current pager. Users will notice the new holster completely protects the pager to prevent damage. This design aligns with the agencies’ requests to have a holster that completely protects the screen.
The only part of the pager that is not covered by the holster is the sound output hole and the green button that silences the alert when pressed while in the holster.
Q. The controls are counter intuitive - red for select and green to cancel.
The green button is primarily used when reading messages and the red button used for menu functions.
The use of the buttons will be included in the training material.
Q. The sound icon is backwards – the speaker with a line through it means that the sound is on while no line means vibrate mode.
The icons in the menu show what can be selected and not what state the pager is in. The line through the speaker symbol means that when selected the pager goes into silent mode. This too will be included in the training manual.
Q. The menu doesn’t stay on long enough.
The menu stays on for 20 seconds. Once users become familiar with the pager they will not require the menu to stay on any longer.
For original comments on this article see CFA Connect archive article.