A new web-based communication, planning and collaboration tool has been rolled out across Victoria this summer to enable emergency personnel to quickly share information and make strategic decisions.
The new tool, called Emergency Management Common Operating Picture or EM-COP, provides real-time situational awareness and a common view for personnel and agencies across Victoria’s emergency management sector.
Through enhanced access to real time information, the sector can now make better and more timely decisions, resulting in better outcomes and a safer community.
EM-COP is for everyone involved in an emergency, including first responders, emergency management agencies, personnel in the field, control centres, local government, not-for-profit relief organisations, essential service providers, and others.
It can be used at local, state and regional levels to support intelligence gathering activities for an evolving emergency. It is also flexible and adaptable and can be applied to all communities and all emergencies, before, during and after an event.
EM-COP is based on a tried and tested product developed in the US and has been used at a state level at the State Control Centre and by a number of agencies over the past two years to test integration across Victoria’s emergency management sector.
It is particularly useful in emergency management planning and response activities. As an event evolves, one of the most challenging issues is the effective sharing of information across disciplines and jurisdictions. Responders need timely and actionable information to inform effective decision-making, maintain awareness and make strategic decisions about appropriate readiness, response or recovery actions.
Key features of EM-COP include:
- Multiple virtual collaboration rooms each with its own map and whiteboard
- Selectable base maps including Vicmap (cartographic & satellite), Google maps, and Melway
- Data layers for incidents, boundaries, weather, tracking, and a very wide variety of other dynamic and static information layers drawn from across the sector
- A variety of drawing tools for symbols, lines, shapes and text.
- Measuring tools for distance and area
- Shared information log
- Easy access to briefings, reports and other information during an event
- Reference Library
- Private chat with other users of EM-COP
- Document sharing
- Creation of Public Warnings and publishing to the Vic Emergency website and app
- Permanent record of information
EM-COP was officially launched in November 2016 and is being used to manage large-scale incidents and the delivery of public warnings and information.
EM-COP is currently being used by agencies, organisations and government entities right across the state. Through being able to access a common operating picture, everyone involved in emergency management is better able to collaborate with each other, improving efficiency, decision-making and operational activities.