Volunteers in Emergencies

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DEMPeople-driven Strategies for Communication among Volunteers

Our very own Jan Wandek is set to grace the stage as a speaker for the Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference on the 30-31 May at Jupiter’s Hotel, Gold Coast.

During his talk he will be highlighting the difference in culture between volunteers and career personnel/ management, and the resulting need for people-driven communication systems that have been developed from the bottom up; not the top down.



There has been a lot of discussion lately in regards to the culture of volunteers and their place within the emergency services. Head offices across the country are intent on telling volunteers what they need and how to conduct themselves, without always taking into account the key differences in culture held between volunteers and career personnel/ management. By using real people and real situations, more effective strategies can be developed for creating resilient communities.

It’s great to hear stories like the one below, which shows us just how much more effective it is to build a resource from a real grass roots level.


This is part of an email from crew discussions in Western Australia on the 21st of April 2016:


Hi Guys,

Have you looked at a paging system called BART www.bart.emerg.com.au, we have been looking at it in the Shire and having had it on trial for some time, we have implemented it, the estimated cost saving just for our shire is expected to be around the $40,000.00 mark which won’t be spent on the ESL anymore.

We are able to track vehicles, see who is turning out to the station when the pager goes off through Bart, as a deputy I can see if the paged station has enough people attending and it gives me a time of how long it will take them to get there, if it is too long or not enough I can make a decision quickly to get more brigades dispatched. The tracking feature shows where all vehicles are on a map, it also links in to Google maps so it gives directions to the incident. There is roster availability with the app so personnel can put in when they are available or when they are not. As a brigade officer I can send messages to just my brigade or just my team, this is done through Bart so there is no cost involved.

Mundaring has taken it on as well as Swan, Wanneroo and other shires as well.

There is a delay at the moment that when comcen sends a page out it can take a little while, but this can be overcome by comcen linking into the BART system, this would then make it instant, could this be looked at. It is worthwhile to look at, a lot of the other states governments are using it so it would be something that is up and running and cost effective. The other good thing about it is that it is easily updated with more features each time an update comes out.

It is worth the time to take a look at it, I have heard nothing but good reports about it.


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By |2016-11-16T23:47:57+00:00April 26th, 2016|

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