The Emergency Alerting Service (EAS paging) used by CFA since 2006 is a vital part of our operational procedures. It’s reliable and has good coverage across the state, but it obviously does have its limitations.
You’ve told us that you need a system with more enhanced features such as the ability to acknowledge messages, see quickly which members are attending an incident and what competencies they have, and how far away they are away from turning out.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to upgrade EAS with these features. EAS also can’t be replaced by a new system because of its reliability and accessibility - the EAS network covers 95 per cent of Victoria.
So, what is needed is a system that can run alongside it to value-add to your experience.
This week EMV announced Ernst & Young as the successful tenderer for a new Supplementary Alerting Service following a competitive tender process.
The new system will include enhanced functionality including maps, group messaging, ability to show availability, more control over alerts, as well as provide a range of other features designed to simplify the work of our people.
It will be available for free download and use via your smart phone, with no on-going costs to members or Brigades (outside phone data usage). Most importantly it will communicate directly with the EAS, receiving the same messages as the EAS and presenting them to end users.
Using the new SAS will be voluntary to download, and users will need to provide their own smartphone.
EAS will remain the number one means of communicating emergency callouts and dispatch to our members.
Operational members will still be expected to wear and use their pagers even if they choose to use the SAS. This is because EAS isn’t reliant on the mobile phone network to work effectively and has greater coverage and reliability.
We believe both services have an important place in providing an efficient and effective service to the communities we serve.
The development of the app is being funded by the State Government, with a timeline for its development and rollout expected to be made available shortly.
Thank you to everyone who has provided input into this project – your feedback has been vital in developing its scope, and ensuring we end up with a supplementary alerting service that best meets the needs of our people.
Further engagement will occur as the product is developed for use in CFA.