For decades, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service’s forest fires Incident Management Teams (IMTs) have used the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS), which relies on physical paper cards to record individuals, crews, and appliances. The mandated ‘T-cards’ provide little room to document specifics, and each one has to be manually logged into a database in a time-consuming and labour-intensive process.
It became clear in recent years, and especially highlighted after the 2020 Black Summer bushfires, that the paper-based system desperately needed to be brought into the digital age. Mav3rik was engaged to digitalise the system, while still adhering to the AIIMS protocol. Optimising response times and further protecting the health and fatigue of crews, both QPWS and Mav3rik were prepared to leave the paper trail long behind.
We’re all about helping workplaces function better, and with the high pressure situations that first responders deal with, it was imperative that the system we designed was intuitive to navigate. No initiative to make change is easy, especially one with such high stakes, so we were as determined as ever to give QWPS a solution that would honour and support their essential work. With the needs of firefighters in mind, we collaborated closely with QPWS to develop Park eBattle to protect the health and welfare of those on the frontlines.
We created two applications: a mobile T-card application, and the ‘Battleboard’, an accompanying tablet interface. Taking inspiration from the existing system, we worked on enabling a transformation that would both modernise and simplify processes.
The digital Battleboard is reminiscent of the physical wall that T-cards were deposited into before being documented, but with an interface that allows IMTs to view real time, critical information in the palm of a hand. After a QR code is scanned, the board is populated, and the information that would usually take hours or days of manual data logging is able to be viewed instantly.
Encompassing crew cards, appliances, communications, logs, and notifications, we wanted to allow IMTs to better manage incidents, with the capability of monitoring, deploying and directing crews with newfound speed and real-time accuracy. A centralised hub of information, the BattleBoard’s Interactive command and communication structures keep IMTs critically informed of crews and resources deployed to all sectors. Crafting our approach to QPWS’ specific needs, the BattleBoard’s ability to create logs and reference key events lets crew leaders focus on strategy, instead of paper pushing.
With the primary downfall of the physical T-cards being the lack of space provided to record crucial information, the digital T-card app allows crew leaders to generate comprehensive crew cards to document their teams’ dietary requirements, health concerns, and, critically, fatigue levels. Crew leaders are now able to drastically improve their tracking of their teams’ fatigue, lowering the risk of related injuries on the field. The overall priority for us was to ensure that all individuals’ welfare were able to be easily recorded during an emergency event.
Designed to be as accessible as possible, the application is compatible on both iOS and Android, and, essentially, can function completely offline. With first responders often deployed to rural areas, we knew that a dependence on a mobile connection was out of the question. After the T-card is completed, the data is compressed, and a unique QR code is created, ready to be scanned into a BattleBoard upon arriving on scene. It couldn’t be made simpler.
Park eBattle was quickly deployed on various Level 1 and 2 incidents by QPWS, and it became clear that the transition to the digital system would also be able to greatly improve any and all workplaces that utilise AIIMS. Applicable to natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and cyclones, emergency response, forestry services and more, we are excited at the prospect of elevating services that have relied on paper documentation for too long. As our passion is harnessing technology to help teams become more efficient, this project serves as another example of using our skills to put people first.
Following the success QPWS has recognised with Park eBattle, the project has been spun out into a new startup called HEROIQ. Now, agencies across Australasia can use the same system to protect their crews and enhance cross-agency collaboration during large-scale natural disasters.See more at heroiq.io
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), formed in 1975, is the business division of the Department of Environment and Science within the Government of Queensland. The primary focus of QPWS is the management and maintenance of more than 1000 protected areas within Queensland, including parks, forests, and the Great Barrier Reef.
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