Sofware and services for emergency management and rescue organisations

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Incoming and outgoing phone service

Make outgoing calls to dispatch groups of members for a task and collect information on who can respond. Accept incoming calls to operate an information line, start dispatches, connect to a conference call and more.

Outgoing calls phone service

Start call out

Starting a call out
using the app

When the on call duty officer receives a call for assistance they need to quickly and efficiently contact all appropriate group members to inform them of the task and see who will be responding and who cannot make it.  Currently this is done numerous ways including

  • Members may have a pager
  • A dispatcher calls each member individually
  • A third party automated call out service

Once at the command post there is often a period of time whilst you wait for members to arrive.  Frequently roles and teams will be assigned based on who is as the command post at any one time as it is not known who is responding and how long it will take them to arrive.

The VolunteerRescue outgoing phone service enables members once called to send a reply either as a text message or from the VolunteerRescue app indicating whether they are able to respond or not along with any other information which may include the amount of time it will take them to get to the command post. Using this information roles and teams can be assigned based on who is arriving and when rather than just who is present at any one time.

A call out can be started in any of the following ways

  1. Using your groups standard VolunteerRescue web service
  2. From the VolunteerRescue smartphone app
  3. By calling a phone number dedicated to your group and following a set of phone based prompts

The main advantage over other systems is everything is integrated in the one service which means

  • Members can maintain their own information including whether to receive a call out via text, their up to date phone numbers and their preferred priority for the numbers to be called.  Members who have indicated they are unavailable will not be called, for example on vacation
  • When starting a call out the groups already defined in VolunteerRescue can be used to call groups of members, for example by team
  • VolunteerRescue displays a progress page for the call out that shows the current state of each text message and phone call that automatically updates every 30 seconds for an hour after the call out was started.  The progress page can show the progress by certification or role to provide a quick view of the level of resources responding and not responding

Progress screen

Progress page showing progress by certification

Once a call out has been started a SMS text message will be sent to all selected members that have opted to receive a text message, all selected members that have not opted to receive a text message will have their phones dialed in the order they have defined; the VolunteerRescue outgoing phone service will place one call per second ensuring all members are quickly and efficiently called to reduce delays.

Where a text message is sent those members have a customisable length of time, default 5 minutes, to send a reply text message containing information on whether they can respond or not along with any other information they feel may be useful.  For those members who do not respond in the defined time the service will start dialing their phone numbers in the order the member has defined.

Where a member answers a call they will be played details of the call out recorded when you created the call out and optionally played a list of options they can select from to indicate whether they can respond or not.

A text message can be sent at any time regardless of how a member was called out and multiple text messages can be sent if circumstances change.  A reply message and indication of whether a member can respond or not can also be sent using the VolunteerRescue app.

For those groups that will still continue to use an alternative call out system such as pagers the VolunteerRescue outgoing phone service can still be used to allow members to send a reply message and indicate whether they can respond or not.

In addition to using the outgoing service for a call out the outgoing service can also be used to

  • Call members and play a general message
  • Call members and when answered automatically connect them to a conference call (e.g. board meeting or debrief)
  • Send a general text to members

When a member sends a response indicating they will be responding to the call out the member can be automatically signed into the task.  At the end of the task using either the VolunteerRescue mobile app or sending an SMS text message members can be automatically taken off task so you know when members have safely returned home, reducing (and usually eliminating) the number of calls required at the end of a task to check that your members hace returned home safely.  This also means as a group you get accurate check in and out times of your members involved on a task resulting in a more accurate view of the hours of your members.

Incoming calls phone service

When using the VolunteerRescue phone service you will be provided with one or more local phone numbers specific to your group that will be used as the From phone number when making outgoing calls.  These same phone numbers can also receive incoming calls that when answered will play the caller a list of options that you define.

VolunteerRescue allows you to define one or more phone menus and link a phone menu with a phone number, you can use one phone number and define one menu with all the options you want to provide for your group or you could use multiple phone numbers and attach a different phone menu to each number (e.g. use one number for the public as an information line and use a different phone number that members can call).

With the incoming phone service you can create options that allow the caller to

  • Play an informational message
  • Record a message and send to a member (e.g. President), the recipient member will receive an e-mail with a link to the recording
  • Join a conference call
  • Replay the last call out message for when a member forgets the exact details of the original call out or perhaps just missed the call and has no answer phone
  • Send members a dispatch message for a task

The incoming phone service supports more than one concurrent call to the same phone number and all prompts can use text to speech or you can upload your own recorded coice files for each prompt.


Not all features are available in all countries, the list of features described above have been tested in Canada and the United States of America.

Phone charges do apply for calls and SMS text mesages sent and received using the VolunteerRescue phone service, prices vary from country to country; contact us for more information on pricing in your country.