Sofware and services for emergency management and rescue organisations

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VolunteerRescue mobile app

The mobile app supports iOS and Android and is both a standalone app with tools for all rescue personel and is an online app that members can use to access their organizations VolunteerRescue service.  The app does not need access to a VolunteerRescue service and the app is made available to anybody free of charge via their devices' app store or marketplace.

The mobile app is also available as a series of web pages using this web site and can be accessed using a HTML5 compliant browser; this can be used for non iOS and Android devices where a native mobile app is not currently available or on a desktop computer or laptop allowing data entry using a full screen, keyboard and mouse.

Standalone features

These features are available regardless of whether you have acces to a VolunteerRescue central service or not and are available to everybody.

GPS Tracker

Ever needed to record a track but don't have (or forgot) a GPS, the app can use the GPS of iOS and Android devices to record the track on your device.  The frequency of when points are recorded can be configured to reduce memory usage and power consumption.

Completed tracks can be exported to KML for viewing in external map software.

Kit lists

When called for a task many volunteers spend valuable minutes getting their gear together either often forgetting pieces of equipment or taking more than they need because they cannot remember what they used last time.  Equipment is not always in one place and can be distributed around the home especially if used for other activities.  Kit not only refers to the items found in a volunteers pack but for example also what their ideal base layering system is under a dry suit when on a swiftwater call or what personal gear they need on their harness for a technical rope rescue call.

The kit lists feature is designed to solve this problem by enabling the creation of kit lists comprising of items for which the following can be recorded

  • Description
  • Storage location - where it can be found in the home
  • Pack location - which pocket in the pack it should be placed
  • Value - replacement value of the item in the event it needs replacing
  • Total quantity - the number of the item that the volunteer owns
  • Quantity required - the number of the item required for the kit
  • Notes - any other information

The benefit of using a mobile device (typically a phone) is that it is readily to hand, the volunteer can from their phone see what items they need and where they can be found in the home.  This should make the volunteer much more efficient at collecting together their gear for the task as well as making sure they turn up with all the required gear.

When collecting their gear just tapping the item on the device's screen marks the item as selected and when all the required items have been collected the kit list can be locked to prevent accidental updates whilst the device is in a pocket.  Once the task is completed either back at base or back at home the volunteer can using their phone make sure they have returned with everything they set out with and if unpacking their kit can see where to put back the items ready for the next time they are needed.

This same feature can be used by groups for group kits by just replacing home with the groups' search base.

Map and navigation

The map and navigation options provide tools for volunteers whilst they are in the field, none of the options require cell or internet coverage to work.  If the mobile device has a GPS chip the map and navigation options can also use this to provide the volunteer with their current coordinates again without cell and internet coverage.  All coordinates are displayed in the following formats

  • Lat/Lng - Decimal degrees
  • Lat/Lng - Degrees, minutes and seconds
  • Lat/Lng - Degrees and decimal minutes
  • UTM - Zone, easting and northing

Way points

Define any number of way points such as location of a back country hut, location of a trail head, location of your repeater tower, location of a gear cache, etc...

Coordinates converter

Enter coordinates in any of the formats described above and automatically see them converted to all the alternative formats, for example you know your UTM from your map but the helicopter pilot needs it in degrees and decimal minutes.

Intersection of two paths

Given two known points (you can select from way points defined using the way points option) and a bearing from each point the coordinates where the two paths cross and the distance from each point to where the paths cross is calculated.

Distance between two points

Given two known points (you can select from way points defined using the way points option) the distance between the two points will be calculated, also the bearing from the first point to the second point will be calculated.


During navigation training volunteers will likely at some point calculate their pacing (i.e. the number of paces to cover 100m).  The volunteers can store this in their mobile device, once stored the device will show the number of paces required at 5m interval from 5m through to 100m.  Volunteers can define more than one pacing if they have calculated the number of paces in different terrain such as open field, dense forest, light forest, up hill, down hill etc...

When volunteers are in the field and are instructed by command to move on a known bearing for a known distance (e.g. North for 500m) they can find the pacing that best suits their current terrain and know instantly how many paces 100m is and using techniques such as ranger beads or "stones in a pocket" can walk the required distance.

Search theory

When managing a large search the search area is typically split up in to regions and then the team in charge of the search need to decide where best to deploy limited resources for the most likely chance of success.  The search theory tools provide calculators to assist in making this decision.


When searchers are searching in a region the spacing between searchers is a key component to ensure the region is most effectively searched and for this a track spacing needs to be determined.  One way to achieve this is to average together a number of AMDR (Average maximum detection range) values to first determine an Effective Sweep Width for a region and to determine AMDR a team will be sent out to perform some test searches in similar terrain for a similar object.  The AMDR calculator has instructions on how to perform an AMDR test and calculates the AMDR.

Probability calculator

Provides a screen that calculates the values used to determine where best to deploy resources; the meaning of the values and what they are used for are the topic of many manuals and documents and beyond the scope of this feature quide.  The following are calculated

  • Probability of area
  • Ranking of probability of area
  • Effective sweep width (editable)
  • Probability of detection (editable)
  • Coverage (editable)
  • Track spacing
  • Area of region (editable)
  • Searcher speed (editable)
  • Effort required
  • Area effectively swept
  • Probabaility density
  • Probability of success
  • Probable success rate
  • Given a known number of searchers how many hours it wil ltake to search a region
  • Given a known number of hours how many searchers are required to search a region

Rope rescue calculator

Anchor force calculator

Enter the angle between the load horizontal and the anchor leg along with the force of the load and the result will show the force at the anchor.

Redirection vector force calculator

Enter the angle of redirection and the force on the ends of the rope and the result will show the redirection vector force.

Slope angle force table

Table showing the force of a load adjusted for slope angle.

Marine calculator

TVMDC calculator

Enter any three of True, Variation, Magnetic, Deviation or Compass and the remaining two values will be calculated.


Enter any two of Distance, Speed or Time and the other value will be calculated.

Web links

Define any number of useful web links of rescue related resources all accessible from one place, click on a link to load the web page direct from the app.

Data management

Options to save data to the cloud (central VolunteerRescue servers) and load data from the cloud, used to backup data from devices and to transfer data between devices.

Online features

These features require a group to have a VolunteerRescue internet service as they require logon to a VolunteerRescue service.  If a group does not use VolunteerRescue all the above features are still available and just this section is disabled.


  • Edit important personal contact details
  • Edit important emergency contact details
  • View outstanding to do items and add updates to their progress
  • View upcoming events and register for and unregister from events
  • View on call shifts and register for and unregister shifts
  • View availability and update periods when unavailable
  • View assets that have been allocated to yourself
  • View any certifications that are expiring or have expired
  • Start call out or conference call and monitor progress
  • Respond to a call out and add additional notes such as how long away
  • Address book for both member and third party contact information with up to date real time retrieval of information from a central VolunteerRescue service
  • Custom address books of contact information  with up to date real time retrieval of information from a central VolunteerRescue service
  • Both the address book and call out progress screens link with a phones dial screen to place a call using phone numbers listed in the mobile app

GPS Tracker

Receive track updates in real time (device needs an internet connection) and the updates will be shown on a map to keep track of team/member locations and the route taken.