Information is power, especially when an emergency or disaster strikes. Emergency responders can’t afford to be cut off from critical information and resources when they’re out in the field. That’s why we created the new WebEOC mobile app.
The WebEOC mobile app keeps emergency staff connected when they’re away from their desk, and makes preparation and readiness tasks easier and more efficient. The mobile-friendly boards are easy to view and edit, and keep users informed and situationally aware during an emergency, disaster, or other event.
The WebEOC mobile app has changed how one coastal emergency management agency performs many of their daily operations for emergency preparedness and response, said Emergency Management Specialist Aaron Thompson, of Chatham County EMA located in Savannah, Georgia.
Chatham County EMA staff learned about the WebEOC mobile app after Juvare’s annual Exchange user conference in May 2019. They began using the app by July and continue to find new ways to incorporate it into their day-to-day operations, both in checking preparedness and responding to events.
“It was all about efficiency. We use WebEOC every day, so why not do it all inside WebEOC and use the WebEOC mobile app,” Thompson said.
The WebEOC mobile app provides Chatham County EMA staff access to notifications, forms, and boards. With the WebEOC app, they can capture data, conduct assessments, and complete reports in the field that automatically update their WebEOC boards. With the app, they’re also able to receive notifications about incidents, statuses, resources, locations, and announcements.
“Emergency Management is an out-of-the-office kind of field,” he continued. “We need access to WebEOC and records on the go. The WebEOC mobile app allows for that since we’ve got our phones on us all the time. We can build responsive boards that we can use in the field.”
Also, with the mobile app, EMA personnel can see if an item on the board needs further attention or if a project is marked complete or overdue. Chatham County EMA built a board in the mobile app to help with the agency’s regular interval inspections of the operations center and the mobile EOC. The mobile EOC includes a communications trailer and support trailer used in the field. Using the board they built in WebEOC mobile app, users can fill out a form to check on each item’s operational status. They can assess and note whether equipment is in working order – including computers, phones, radios, etc., and assign any corrections needed. They can also check on and track the status of any supplies on hand, or that need to be ordered.
Efficiency and Simplicity
The Chatham County EMA is still exploring new ways to integrate the mobile app into their daily operations, but EMA staff have been very receptive to the app’s flexibility, efficiency, and simplicity, Thompson said.
“As a user, it’s very user friendly,” he said. “It’s simple enough that even someone who’s not good with technology can use it. I can make it as simple or complicated as I want to.”
While he has never had any previous experience in writing code for mobile applications, Thompson said he has been able to create “very complex boards with minimal training.”
Plus, Juvare’s support and training are always available if there are any questions or for more advanced guidance.
“It’s been a really good environment to learn in,” he added.
Chatham County EMA already has several new projects lined up for the WebEOC mobile app to organize and improve operations, workflows and processes, including developing a duty officer log and an equipment log, among others.
“The great thing about it is, the WebEOC mobile app is whatever you need it to be,” said Thompson. “It makes things easier on the duty officer, on everyone. We’re excited about it.
"The WebEOC mobile app is bringing our agency into the 21st Century, with a mobile, on-the-go emergency management solution.”