USFRA member Mike Ross, from EastTex Regional CERT, has developed a mobile app for Rowlett CERT (for iPhone and Android) that is designed to be used by members of their emergency response team deployed in the field.
It contains CERT and general reference information, a triage counter, weather information, and allows users to submit GPS locations of its members, photos, voice recordings, and notes to incident command via the app.
Currently, this free CERT app is designed for Rowlett (TX) CERT, however Mike is building a custom app that could be used by any emergency response team anywhere in the country. To make a product that all groups can implement, he plans to offer it to the individual members instead of the team.
While primarily developed with CERT in mind, his goal is to make the best app on the market to be used by first responders in the field and he’d like to see it have widespread use with CERT, other emergency response groups, as well as Fire or Police Departments.
By downloading the free app, you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of the app’s functionality and receive updates about the new app that is being developed as they become available. (And we'll share some updates here too.)
The current time frame for launch of the new app is late September / early October.
Download the free Rowlett CERT app below or visit the app stores and search for “Rowlett CERT”:
The functionality of the first version of the new app will be similar to the Rowlett app with these planned enhancements:
There is a long list of other planned enhancements, but user feedback and functionality requests are greatly appreciated to make this the best app possible. Feel free to contact Mike thru USFRA or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks Janet. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me. Feedback and suggestions will help make this an extremely valuable tool to be used during deployments. Production of the app is coming along nicely and is on target for a launch in the next few weeks. I'll keep updates coming as they are available.
Great I'm downloading it now.
The perfect roll out just in time for National Preparedness Month. Can't wait to play with it a little. All CERT folks with a smart phone must add this a a new tool!
I've been playing with it Kevin and it's AWESOME!!! I've been linking it all over the place, spreading the word.
Thank you all so much for your feedback. We've been testing the app and working as quickly as possible to get it completed so we can make it live. I'm hoping to have it launched by next weekend for a drill our CERT team is having, but at the same time, I want to make sure it's a quality product that everyone will be happy with.
The initial launch will only be the very beginnings for this app, and I have many improvements/enhancements that I plan on making as time goes on. The more teams we have using the app, the more powerful it will become, because it will allow us all to be able to communicate and share information amongst one another.
Thank you again. I'll post an update on how development is coming later this week.
I do have a Facebook page started for the app now. I'll be posting updates and emergency related information there as time goes on. It'll be a great way for teams to share ways they use the app and stories about how the app has helped them.
I downloaded this app as well, but I will be posting my comments here Michael, I don't do Facebook.
Here's an update on the app. We were having some issues getting the mapping functions working properly, but most of the bugs have been fixed.
A user's pin will now properly follow the user as they move around the map, and you can also view other user's pins as they move around the map. iPhone and Android versions communicate with each other properly now as well.
To reduce battery drain, we delayed the user location update to 2 minutes from 1 minute and we also added a refresh button so you can get the updated information just by refreshing (instead of auto-updating the information). We found that a more frequent location updates and auto updates on the map reduced battery life too quickly, and frankly weren't necessary when considering how the app will be used.
You can now place a waypoint in two ways, either at your location, or by tapping the screen. There will be 6 waypoints to choose from and over 10 user pin colors to choose from. The waypoints are all viewable by all users in the area. Just hit the refresh button after a team member sets a waypoint, and it appears on your map (including any waypoint notes that were attached).
We made the CERT reference section hard-coded in to the app, so if cell service is down, it will still be accessible.
The triage counter section is finished and working properly. We added a reset button for all 4 categories for user-friendliness.
Here is a screenshot of the mapping function. The UI is not complete yet, so please excuse the sloppy interface. You can see the different waypoints that have been set as well as a couple of the user pins
We added a panic button, which is working properly. when pressed, it counts down from 10 to zero (cancelled by tapping screen). when it hits zero, the phone's volume is set to full, and it starts to emit a siren noise. also, the phone's camera light starts flashing like a strobe light. Safety is our number one priority, and if our team members need help, we want to find them as soon as possible. this feature has planned enhancement lined up for future versions (setting waypoint on map of user's location, and sending out a notification to other team members).
Please spread the word about the app. You can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/deploypro.
All feedback and suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
Here's the latest update. We're getting real close. Here's an article that just came out on emergencymgmt.com