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Monday, 18 May 2015 00:00

Pager Warning

The VFBV/CFA Joint Communications and Technology Committee is warning members not to rely solely on third party notification providers via their smart phones instead of using their CFA issued pagers.

This follows a report to the Committee that some members are handing in pagers in favour of smart phone apps.  The Committee warns that the app providers are not officially supported by the agencies and can remove their service at any time, so they are not a safe way of receiving an alert, even if their coverage or feature set is superior to the current CFA pager.

VFBV has been highly critical of the existing pager that was selected by a multi-agency group several years ago, CFA’s pager contract is due to expire next year and VFBV continues to advocate for the need to urgently address possible designs and feature sets for the next generation pagers, including two way communications ability.

The Committee has called for CFA to include Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) in early discussions, to investigate future pager options and ensure mistakes of the past are not made on the selection of the next generation paging device.

This item is from the VFBV/CFA Joint Communications Committee 2 Minute Briefing - to see more items from the Joint Committees, go to the VFBV website's front page and scroll down to the Joint Committee area.

Published in VFBV News
Friday, 13 September 2013 09:19

Pager hotline for fixes

Two thirds of the new pagers have been delivered, and VFBV encourages Brigades to ensure they have proper instruction.

Approximately 30% have asked for extra training so far.

If you experience a problem, call the EAS Pager Hotline 1800 604 977 to see if a simple, over-the-air program fix sorts it out.

Log all problems on the Pager Observation Reports to ensure CFA and ESTA can track any issues.

Published in VFBV News

Communications & Technology Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing 

Issue 6, 11 August 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 11/08/2013)

EAS PAGER REPLACEMENT PROGRAM UPDATE

Amy Ford from ESTA spoke to committee members on the pager roll outs that have been done for CFA, SES and AV.  Approximately 2/3 of pagers have been distributed, there have been a number of questions on functionality of the pagers rather than faults.

Approximately 30% of brigades have asked for extra training, as there was never an intention of a "drop and run" without any training.  ESTA and CFA will provide training as required to any member who requires this, brigades are encouraged to do this as a group and contact the EAS help desk.  ESTA encourages that any issues to be reported to the Brigade’s District Office or the EAS help desk.  There are four support ESTA staff to assist with support for pagers.  Need members to be comfortable to use the device, so please ask for support for further training.

ESTA are also after as much feedback to see if there are any faults, with planning for field trip to visit District to gather feedback. This method was deemed more effective that doing a survey. 

The Quick Reference User Guide information sheet that was distributed with the new pagers will also be sent as a poster to brigades.

EAS Help desk phone 1800 604 977

 

ESTA USER REFERENCE GROUP

At the request of VFBV, an EAS Pager User Reference Group will be established towards the end of the year to deal with a number of issues including; future pagers designs, the ongoing improvement of this new pager with programming and firmware upgrades and management and overview of issues and fault rectification with this new pager.  This group will also look at lessons learned from this pager roll out and what needs to be done with the end user in mind.  The group will be made up of volunteers and staff from all agencies.

 

LISTENING SETS

There have been two business cases put forward to CFA (one for streaming on the internet and one for a separate radio device).  VFBV is of a view that there is a need to have a range of solutions to cater for the situational awareness needs of all CFA members.  VFBV is awaiting the approval of the business cases and advice on how the solutions will be funded.

In anticipation of a ‘device styled solution’ CFA will soon call for expressions of interest from suppliers for digital listening sets (looking to have these fully programmed and possibly distributed from the manufacturer).

Following the decision to progress a suite of solutions, CFA will call for tenders from IT vendors for the live streaming and hardware supply.

 

OBSERVATION REPORTS

Information has been requested from the committee as to the details regarding progressing solutions as a result form brigades lodging paging and communications observation reports.  This is due to advice to VFBV that there is rarely any follow up to the brigade once the observation report is lodged.

CFA Officers have advised that the time frame for observation reports is Brigades are required to have them submitted within 60 days of the reported issue/incident and ESTA must have them completed within 60 days from their receiving them. Our Committee delegates sought to see how a decision was made in the follow up and ensure that this is done on each occasion.  The committee has also requested to see a summary of the observation reports tabled at each meeting.

 

Issue 5, 19 May 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV.

EAS PAGER REPLACEMENT PROGRAM UPDATE

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.

ESTA’s presented details of the EAS network upgrade and key features of the new EAS Alpha Legend Pager.

  • Small message font size was raised as a potential issue by CFA and other agencies. ESTA’s investigations found that there is little flexibility in changing the font size due to the small size of the pager screen.
  • ESTA has received feedback from VFBV on information/order of information to be provided in messages. Waiting feedback from CFA.
  • SOP for the message template has been sent to VFBV for feedback and input from CFA.

ESTA demonstrated a new prototype cradle designed to house the pager. The cradle picks up sensors from the pager upon activation and creates a loud audio alert signal and flashing light for up to three minutes. The cradle is portable and can be used in vehicles via a cigarette lighter plug in. Literature has been sent to agencies and is also being distributed at pager rollout.

Time has been set to present the cradle to F&EM. Potential use and purchase of the cradle will be subject to CFA policy yet to be raised. 

REGIONAL RADIO DISPATCH PROJECT (RRDS) UPDATE

Business Change Manager will be recruited. Anticipated to be an F&EM type role similar to Operations Manager role on the RRP project.

Working with Telstra to finalise the District rollout schedule. Final schedule will be available at the end of May. It has been agreed that Districts 12, 15 and 2 will be completed first.

  • Timing of outer metro switch to digital network
  • Provision for expansion of the regional digital network has been made in the current RRDS contract.
  • Outer metro digital network will flow on from completion of regional rollout, dependent upon funding.

Vehicle location distress function is a separate project to RDS and will be delivered at some time after districts migrate to the digital network (timing to be advised by Tait).

  1. 1.    DIGITAL MIGRATION

Working on finalisation of the Digital Migration Strategy document. The final document will be provided to all stakeholders for review. Planning phase will commence upon completion of the strategy, commencing with the RDS regional plan.

  1. 2.    LISTENING SETS 

Work on two solutions:

  • Radio scanner for analogue and P25 digital
  • ‘Streamed’ audio

Allocation priorities (critical listeners) and commercial model are to be identified. Source of funding to be identified. Digital scanner solution must be in place by end October to align with the first RDS rollouts.

CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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