FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

MyEmergencyCrew is an on-line application for Volunteer Emergency Service Members to manage their activities within their Brigade or Unit. This project is not endorsed by the RFS, CFS, CFA, BFS, TFS, CFU, NPWS or SES, nor affiliated with any other similar service.

We get asked a lot of questions about this service so here are some of the common ones:

Help, I cannot access my Account!

This is our most common question. We only provide support directly to Users with Administrative access to our system. If you are a Member and are having difficulty accessing your Account, please directly contact YOUR OWN BRIGADE ADMINISTRATOR. They have all the necessary tools to assist you getting things sorted. Do not send us a New Brigade Application or use the Contact form in such cases.

Can I use the system for free?

Yes. We provide this service totally free of any charge for Brigades and Units with up to 20 Member Accounts. However some of the add-on services we support, such as SMS and PushOver do charge at their end. We do interface to their services free of additional charges and do not gain anything from them for doing this.

Do I need to pay for more than 20 Member Accounts?

Yes, from 1 August 2017. We offer a very competitive Subscription service that is between 35% to 80% cheaper than other systems available in Australia. See our Subscription options for more details.

Who can use this Service?

Any Emergency Service within Australia. See the Terms and Conditions for more details.

Can I sponsor or advertise on this Service?

You are welcome to sponsor us and in return you will receive a name mention and link within our system. Contact us for more info.

Where can I find a list of features and a user guide?

Our system can be very easy or quite complex. It all comes down to what you need to do. There is no right or wrong to use it either and some Members have found quite creative ways to solve their problems. The best place to start is our YouTube Channel, then if you have any specific questions, visit our User Community. In-App Help is available too. Just look for the button on the toolbar.

How many people use this Service?

Our user-base grows daily and we add more and more Brigades and Units every week. Our analytics tell us that in an average month we average around 115,000 unique sessions with an average duration of 38 minutes, serving over 220,000 pages of data. Annually, we serve around 45,000 unique, active Users. However this figure does not account for Members who are managed by their respective Admistrators. This number changes as large scale emergencies such as storms and fires happen. When such events are active we see a doubling in activity on the system.

Where is this system hosted?

We use a well established and dedicated Australia-wide Data-Center (ServersAustralia) together with a global CDN powered by CloudFlare. These data centres are some of the newest and most advanced in Australia. Full hardware, software and data redundancy is maintained at all times as ‘insurance’ that in the worst possible case scenario means that services can be restored in the shortest time.

What is the System developed in?

We use the JQuery Mobile framework along with PHP and MySQL. We use Delphi for native Windows software such as Mail2PushOver and Flight Following.

Delphi?! That's so old. Why?

Yes, Delphi has been around for quite a while and is a very mature development language used for Windows and also Mac, Android and iPhone. It is a Native language for Window in particular and is incredibly fast, native and dependant-free. Delphi is used in a surprising number of industries, in particular Broadcast TV and Radio. Delphi is dependency and bloat-free (no DLL hell). You could imaging hundreds of TV channels going off-line whilst developers wait for Microsoft to fix something in a DLL or Assembly, or hoping the CLR will free up RAM because the developer didn't bother to. This can't happen! We also write native Windows Service Servers (Mail2PushOver) and to do that you need a solid and native development system (.NET can't handle it). Delphi can connect to almost anything across the full-stack from hardware level right up. Yes, you have to take responsibility for Memory and Resource use right across your code, but then any developer worth their salt should be doing that anyway.

How much experience does the developer(s) have?

Over 30 years. We develop and maintain scheduling and automation systems for the television industry that must operate 24/7 in real-time. Check LinkedIn for more details.

How much Development Time is put into this Project?

A lot! This project is a full time job covering support, administration, design and development. This is an Enterprise-scale endeavour and as such, requires many hours per week to maintain.

What risks are associated with using this Service?

We don't store a lot of data and the management of this data is with your Brigade Administrators and the Members themselves. What we cover is detailed in the Terms and Conditions. You can always export your data and we encourage that for your own record keeping purposes.

Is there an App I need to download?

No. Our System is a native Web App so you do not need to download it. It will run as a web application on most mobile devices and will also operate on desktops running a supported web browser. Check our full list of supported platforms. Some 3rd parties do offer our system as a Native Android App however if you're in the dark on Web Apps vs Native Apps I suggest you read this post.

I still don't get it. Why isn't MyEmergencyCrew an app I can download from iTunes or Google Play?

Simple. It doesn't need to be. We designed this system to present a consistent experience and feature-set no matter what device you intend to use it on, from desktops to tablets, all manner of phones and even TVs. Also, we have no desire to let Apple or Google make money from our efforts. So we've opted to stick with a true, native, responsive web "app" and avoid all the hurdles of maintaining multiple versions of the system, app stores and the issues that come with that (which are many). We can turn around feature requests, to all platforms, in a matter of minutes, as opposed to days or weeks if we were to deploy via app stores. Reduced development time equals less cost and this means we can keep the system competitively priced to use. Technically, there is no functionality offered by a native OS App that is not already available in the web (HTML5) space. So there's no technical benefit either. A 3rd Party has developed an version for native Android which you can find in the Google Play Store.

We have Members who do not have a Smart Phone. What can the system do for them?

Glad you asked. Your Members can still interact with our system using the very smart voice interface using a regular phone (mobile or land line). See our Messaging Guide - Voice Interfacing for more details.

What types of Messaging does the system support?

Loads, including voice mail for those who just have a land line phone. See our Messaging Guide for more details.

Will features change without me knowing?

They shouldn't if you keep up to date in our User Community. We post information about all changes and new features. We are constantly evaluating the usability of this system and striving to make it quicker and easier to use. Plus we are always accepting suggestions from Members on how to improve things and add new features. All updates are non-breaking in that they preserve existing functionality. We always aim to enhance as opposed to replace features.

Our system is constantly evolving so, as with any on-line application, expect it to change over time. We aim to roll out updates fortnightly on average.

Can I run my own private instance of this Service?

No.

How can I be sure my data is kept private?

What we cover is detailed in the Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policy. Ultimately the privacy of your Brigade/Unit's data is in the hands of your own local Administrator. We recommend that all Brigades and Units adopting MyEmergencyCrew, use it in accordance with their own internal Privacy policy.

How secure is the system?

Your information is as secure as you decide to make it. Unfortunately, most security breaches on the Internet are because someone has neglected to secure their own data using the facilities available to them. This is why we make a strong point that everyone adds a PIN to their account, and continue to nag users until they do.

We do not store your PIN so there is no way for anyone to determine your PIN or access your account once you have set it, unless you actually tell someone what it is. Also, any Members with Admin rights are unable to access those rights until they have set a PIN. If an Admin Member's PIN is reset they will loose their elevated rights until they set a new PIN.

User profiles are bound to one and only one Brigade/Unit. So there is no way for a User to be able to access data from a different Brigade by accident or intentionally.

We actively protect against all known direct attack and hacking methods and use the on-line services of a trusted global CDN (CloudFlare). Technical details concerning our hosting, encryption methods and other low-level specifications are protected company secrets and not available for public or member discussion. SSL connections are supported on all our domains.

Can MyEmergencyCrew staff access my/our data?

Only if you request that we do. This is usually to provide you some feedback as to why a certain thing is happening or perhaps to resolve an issue. However we cannot log into the system as you, using your Account, if you have secured it with a PIN. All PINs are encrypted and even we cannot work out what it is. If you need us to log in as you for some reason, you must give us explicit consent along with your login details.

How long is data retained?

For our Non-Subscribing Users on the Free plan, data for things like Events, Schedules, Incidents is retained for 30 days past their Expiry/End Date. Member history is also retained for 30 days. Subscribing Users have their data retainsed for a long as their Subscription runs, up to 1 year. We encourage Units to regularly download/export their data for archival purposes.

My Brigade is now using this system. How do I get an account?

This is administered by your Brigade. Check with them and they will set up your account for you.

Can I be a Member of multiple Units or Brigades?

Yes. There is no limit to how many you can be a member of. Just ensure that you use the same Phone Number and PIN on each and the system will link you up. You will be able to switch between them using your Menu as well as setting one as your default.

Why do I have to use my personal phone number as my Account ID?

Firstly, it is a condition of use and you can read more under our Terms of Use. We elected to use Phone numbers as it is usually the one common unique identifier that each Brigade uses on their Member list. It is also easy for Members to remember. However it does come with certain constraints, i.e. 2 or more members cannot share the same primary number. Also, this Phone Number must be valid. We do not accept bogus numbers such as 12345678 or similar. Any such accounts created with invalid numbers will be deleted without notice.

My Brigade has multiple Units. Can I set them all up?

Yes. It is suggested that you do this to keep your Membership to a manageable level. Members can have profiles in multiple Units and there are additional tools provided to move people from Unit to Unit.

I am a Group Officer and wondering if I can manage resource across my Brigades?

Yes. We offer this Group functionality and it is quite comprehensive. Contact us for more details.

Can you come to my Brigade or HQ and present this system to our Members?

Ask.

Can I test this out before committing my Crew?

Yes, you can join and if you decide to expand your Crew, just do so. There's no obligation either way.

So how do I join?

Please read through the Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policy. The Membership Policy and Joining section has all the info you need to join up. We just need some basic info from you. Once received we can usually turn it around very quickly. You can only apply if you OFFICIALLY represent your Brigade or Unit. If you're not an Executive Member or elected Officer then we wont accept your application, even if you're just poking around, a self-proclaimed legend or some other such unofficial "status". Not gonna happen! Read the Terms and Conditions FIRST so you know what you're getting into.

Can I set up an account for a Brigade or Unit I am not a member of?

No. See the Terms and Conditions

Can I add to the Qualifications and Ratings?

Yes. If you feel they are common to your Agency (RFS, SES, etc) then send them to us and we'll add them for everyone. Alternatively you may add your own if you have Admin rights. Use the Custom Skills menu.

I need IT assistance getting things set up. Can I request help?

No. We don't provide IT support. This is your responsibility. If you are experiencing an on-going issue that you think may be a bug or fault, please send it through and we'll take a look at it.

What about ongoing support?

We only provide direct support to Brigade/Unit Administrators with a current Paid Subscription, and this is only where existing documentation, etc does not cover the issue/questions. It is your responsibility to work with your own Members and ensure that they know how you expect the system to be used. If they need their Accounts Managed, or PINs reset, you will be doing this.

What if I am the only Administrator and I forget my PIN?

We always recommend that you appoint at least 1 other Member as a system Administrator. This will be your backup should you forget your own PIN as they can reset it for you, and perform other top-level admin when you are unable to. However if you haven't done this then we can verify your identity and reset it for you. Send an EMail to us directly.

I have a request for a new Feature. How can I get it added?

We take all requests seriously and most of them make it into the product once we've assessed them. So if you have a Paid Subscription, fire away. Post to our Community Page or contact us directly.

Where can I get more information or send a comment or question?

Visit our Community Page or contact us directly.

Can I delete my Account?

Yes, you can delete your Members but not yourself (directly). To remove your entire Brigade Account, visit your Global Settings and follow the links.