The Essential Services Volunteers mobile app is a new tool designed to help brigades track the extensive work they conduct, both on the fire ground and behind the scenes. The app was created by Bushfire Volunteers, a not-for-profit independent agency who represent and advocate for volunteer firefighters in Western Australia, in conjunction with Perth-based app developer Gaia Resources
The Emergency Services Volunteers app allows volunteers to log their location when at an active job site and also allows them to report the time and location of any type of work they do, such as planning, training and administration. This feature in particular has huge potential benefit in aiding volunteers when applying for grants and funding, and streamlining management of their own brigade.
Lower Chittering Volunteer Bushfire Brigade were the first full brigade to sign up to the app.
“I’m really excited about the ability of the app to track our activities,” said Brigade Captain Graham Furlong. “It’s only been this year that we’ve really started to come close to understanding just how many hours our volunteers do and then being able to break that down.”
Alex Espey from Bushfire Volunteers says, “Volunteer engagement is really underestimated and speculative at the moment and it’s important to be able to quantify that accurately and capture all those little jobs. For example, this morning at Lower Chittering a truck was dropped to the mechanic for servicing – that’s two hours that would be missed under normal data collection methods. When the brigades are asking for funding, for equipment, for training – the app will allow them to access real-time data quickly.”
The app will also assist with contact tracing — if a brigade has attended a fire that is later found to contain hazardous material they can be easily notified — and it can assist in providing evidence of time and location in a legal situation or for insurance purposes.
Local businesses can also utilise the app to support volunteers, by offering exclusive discounts and specials, the details of which can be entered into the app for easy access.
To find out more about the app head to esvolunteers.org.au