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CFA members needed to test tactical obs app
CFA members are invited to get involved in the trial of a new mobile phone application that could potentially revolutionise the quality and detail of information gathered and relayed directly from the fireground.
The application, called TacObs (tactical observations), will have the capability of collecting and instantly communicating GPS coordinates, vision, photos, control lines, maps, and other electronic files from the fireground to Incident Control Centres.
Deputy Chief Officer John Haynes says CFA will conduct field trials of the app to assess its practicality and limitations. “If proven to be fit for purpose, TacObs will provide better situational awareness of conditions on the fireground which have previously been sent by radio transmission.”
TacObs will enable users to share real time information according to John. “Our objective is to test the feasibility of the “Android” phone app during operations. "We’re asking volunteers to help us test the phone app, by sending defined observations via the app that can be shared with current systems such as Emap, Web, and EM-Cop."
This data and information can be shared and disseminated across multiple platforms and can be integrated with existing mapping programs currently employed or under development by Emergency Management Victoria. It also ensures the data can be viewed at state, District or local level.
The collection and communication of local, real time information will also enable greater emphasis on the importance and use of local knowledge, and will reduce the strain on other resources during prolonged and/or busy periods of operations.
TacObs has many other potential advantages over current systems including the ability for basic resource tracking (vehicles and equipment) using device GPS.
John says the TacObs phone app if successfully tested and proven will potentially reduce radio network congestion and the reliance on email as a form of incident communication. “It’s important to note that TacObs is not intended to replace existing systems or processes but supplement them through the provision of structured data communication to operational personnel who currently do not have access."
“This app we are testing is only applicable for Android operated phones at this stage,” John added.
While the app is free, the trial will require individuals to use their own devices and data plans to test this application. If at any time this presents a problem, CFA members can opt out and delete the application from their phone device.