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July 25, 2013

JIBC launches Two New Mobile iOS Apps for the Classroom and the Field

Mobility for ESS and Hazardous Materials Awareness

From floods to fires, earthquakes to train derailments, and all the unexpected in-between, Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) just launched two new mobile apps - ESS2go and Haz Aware - designed as learning aids, and in the case of ESS2go, an educational and practical tool for Emergency Social Services (ESS) responders at work.

ESS2go, the acronym for Emergency Social Services to Go, was developed by JIBC’s Emergency Management Division and was created as both an educational and a practical tool for Emergency Social Service (ESS) Management teams.

Haz Aware is for anyone requiring instant access to Hazardous Materials information but was specifically developed as a study tool for JIBC’s Career Fire-fighter Pre-Employment Certificate students.

Both apps are available as free downloads from the Apple iOS App store.


Jeff Cornell and Eva Yip of the Emergency Management Division worked on ESS2go and after in-depth research believe it to be the first app of its kind in Canada directed specifically at Emergency Social Services management teams.

 Its unique features include:

  • Function checklists that reveal what percentage of tasks have been completed
  • The ability to quickly calculate the number of Registration and Referral staff required based on the number of people waiting for service at an ESS Reception Centre
  • An interactive map for planning locations of reception centres or group-lodging facilities
  • Organization charts
  • Worker care and safety checklists
  • A 24-hour clock
  • Tips for working with the media
  • Completely self-contained; only the map is dependent upon Internet access.

“By developing this app, we’ve moved our work into the contemporary realm," said Cornell. "Everyone working in ESS has had a smart phone for at least a decade but they’ve been lugging around binders of information. With this one app, they can shed a whole bunch of papers and still have the information they used to have – and more – in a mobile format."

"ESS isn’t the sexy part of a disaster," he says, "but when first responders drive away after they've done their jobs, people can be left out of their homes, wondering where they’re going to sleep that night. "That’s where ESS comes in.”

ESS2go will be incorporated into Advanced Emergency Social Service courses offered at JIBC and in communities throughout Canada.

An Android and Blackberry version is being considered for ESS2go in the near future.

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Haz Aware

Haz Aware was developed by the JIBC Fire & Safety Division as a study tool to offer Career Fire Fighter Pre-Employment students a way to learn about Hazardous Materials Information at their own pace, on their own time prior to undergoing the formal testing required by the Certificate.

Haz Aware features include:

  • Reference guides on Hazardous Classes
  • Information on types of Rail Cars/Trailers
  • Identification of containers
  • WHMIS and military symbols
  • A glossary of Hazardous Materials terminology
  • A built-in quiz to test knowledge
  • The National Fire Protection Association's 704 system

Keith Boswell, a retired operations chief with the City of Surrey Fire Service, said the team at JIBC (working with Senior Web Specialist Dennis Yip) learned a lot about developing an app.

“Going through the app development process gave us ideas about what other course information, such as Fire Behaviour, might fit well within an app format," he said. "This is just the beginning."

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Tags: apps, BC, Canada, Career Fire Fighter Pre-Employment Certificate Program, Emergency Management Division, Emergency Social Services, Fire & Safety Division, JIBC news, technology

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Last updated March 10, 2015