A new smartphone app is being developed in an effort to assist emergency services better communicate to users in times of need.

Emergency Management Victoria has been working in collaboration with Ambulance Victoria, ESTA, CFA and VICSES to procure developers for the Supplementary Alerting Service (SAS).

The smartphone app will supplement the existing Emergency Alerting System (EAS), and will benefit users by improving communications during response, as well as improved functionality.

The EAS network covers 95 per cent of Victoria, and is critical to emergency management operations in the state. The SAS system has been developed to work in conjunction with the EAS system.

Users have identified several ways of improving the current system. The SAS app will receive the same messages as the EAS service and present them to end-users, and has been designed to suit the needs of each agency.

The app will be voluntary, and users will need to provide their own smartphone.

Evaluating a tender for the production of the app was carried out by a team of representatives from agencies who use the EAS system, as well as EMV and ESTA. Ernst & Young is the successful tenderer for the development of SAS.

Ernst & Young has a strong record of delivering engaging and effective digital experiences in the government sector, spanning emergency service, state and federal government, and not for profit clients.

Their experience includes designing, building, and managing digital platforms and applications that are focused on great user experience.

Over the next six months, development of the app will be undertaken. Feedback from those who will be using the app will inform the app’s development.

The app is being funded by the state government and as a result there will be no cost to staff or volunteers.