FAQ Overview

Permissions, Privacy & Security

What access do the various app levels have?

In general:

You must have the PubSafe™ mobile app to register a user. You must upgrade to join a Team or an Organization. Click Here to get the PubSafe™ app.

The app version will determine the level of access and functionality once in the portal and mobile app. The list below is just a rough outline and can change at any time. 

Free - Users can use the bottom menu functions, do not get alerts, cannot use Teams, be responders, or access the PubSafe™ portal.

Base - Citizen only. Limited Teams. 

Plus - Can use responder status, access the web portal map, weather data, more and bigger teams.

Pro - Designed for NGOs. Portal dispatching tools and advanced functionality. Large teams and org membership. 

Government - Large teams and lots of org members. Portal access for mass messaging all PubSafe users.

Enterprise - Designed for global organizations like the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Samaritans Purse. It can be used by any business seeking safety and communication functionality. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 22:04


What privacy options are available?

There are many privacy options in the PubSafe mobile app and the web portal designed to give users control. The quickest option is to go "invisible" by clicking on the "eyeball" icon in the top bar of the mobile app. When clicked, you will see there are options related to visibility.

You can limit visibility to a team, an organization, or all users.  When visibility is limited, users cannot interact with other users or access specific functions. This is an additional security measure. If a user wants to interact with another user or the map, enable visibility using the eyeball icon.

pubsafe community visibility options

Users will find several other options in the Settings menu. Click the admin / "hamburger" menu icon in the top left corner of the app and then select Settings. Choose the security settings that meet your needs. 

 

Each time you launch the app you will be shown several of the current most important privacy and security settings. This keeps the user aware of the settings in case they are forgotten for any reason. 

Users have the ability to opt out of public benefit research (PBR). PBR is a future goal to study the anonymous movements of people before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. This data will help improve future response efforts by government agencies and NGOs. It will also improve the efficiency of asset allocation and ensure all communities are being served fairly. Data is made anonymous as much as reasonably possible as individual identities have no value in the research to be completed. 

To hide your phone number you have two options as seen below. This prevents it from appearing on the map info window to other PubSafe users.

Public safety privacy options

Pubsafe public safety mobile app user information

It is recommended that you do not use a Public Name that indicates your sex, age or other personal information. Sex and birth date is never shared and is available to study the demographics of our members so we can better develop solutions to meet member needs. 

pubsafe safety mobile app profile

The final option is to delete your account and disconnect your user profile from the data.

pubsafe citizen user profile

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-27 17:18


Team Visibility

There are three team visibility and privacy options. 

  1. Public - visible to all users
  2. Team Only - Members can only be seen by other members
  3. Invisible - Team members cannot be seen by any user. 

Users cannot interact with other users when in an "invisible" status.

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:13


How do I hide my phone number?

To hide your phone number when your icon is clicked on the map, click the phone icon on your info window. Your icon is always the black icon regardless of your status or role. To make it visible, click it again. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:12


How can I record volunteer hours?

PubSafe can be used to create a record of volunteer hours with a higher degree of fraud protection and verification. Volunteer hours can log your phone GPS coordinates and include photos of your work to help others understand the time and effort you put in. 

Navigate to the More menu in the lower right corner and then to Report Hours. Next, complete the forms and click submit. It is that easy.

You can opt to have a copy of the information sent to an email address in Excel format for storage outside of the PubSafe mobile app and sharing with government agencies. Organizations can use the spreadsheets to compile the type of work, hours, and location to promote the organization's efforts and for potential reimbursement from government funds and promotion of future volunteers. 

 

Author: Eron Iler
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:12


Where can I get training?

The app is not that complicated after about 15 minutes of clicking around. You can post test content but be aware that help and emergency help request will be broadcast so these two functions should not be tested. Posting a SitRep and expiring in 3 hours will not hurt and you can label it "Test" so others know what you are doing. 

To get training the best option is to visit our YouTube channel. It contains videos on specific functions and an overview. The PubSafe app is full of functionality that follows the same flow throughout the app. Once you get a feel for the flow, the rest will come easily. 

PubSafe Safety Community YouTube Channel

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:12


What does the "Visibility" menu options mean?

The visibility menu controls who can see you on the map. In order to interact with other users who are not part of your team or an organization, you must change your status to be visible. The most restrictive option applies. If you choose to be Invisible, organization and team members will not able able to see you. Your selection overrides other settings. 

  • Public - All PubSafe users can see you
  • Invisible - No users can see you
  • My Team - Only the team you selected can see you
  • My Organization - Only the organization you selected can see you

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:11


What is Public Benefit Research?

One goal of PubSafe is to study how people move before and after emergencies and disasters and in response to help requests. By collecting this data researchers can visualize routes users take, speed on roads, response to public announcements and instructions, timeframes for evacuations, and other factors that can shape future emergency management plans, infrastructure, and resource allocation.

Disabling Public Benefit Research

  • When PBR is disabled, location tracking is disabled. This has several consequences. 
    • You will no longer receive geo-location-based alerts from the government, PubSafe, or NGOs
    • If you have an emergency, your location will not be available to other users, your teams, or organizations. 
    • Your data will not be part of the dataset used to find improvements in the areas identified.
  • Users have the option to go "Invisible" to other users by clicking on the eye icon in the header bar. This does not preclude location data from being collected but it prevents all users, teams and organizations from seeing your location.
  • To disable PBR navigate to the admin menu in the top left and toggle off the Public Benefit Research option. See image below. 

Privacy

  • Read our privacy statement in the mobile app for how data is used.
  • Data is never sold or shared with 3rd parties for marketing. Anyone licensed to use the data must also agree to these terms.
  • PubSafe has no interest in what you do that is not related to the research listed above. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-08-04 19:01


What is Departure Lead Time?

This represents the amount of time you require before you can leave in response for help. This time is generally not less than a day to pack gear, get supplies and alter work plans. 

Author: Eron Iler
Last update: 2021-08-30 22:49


What is Departure Lead Time?

This represents the amount of time you require before you can leave in response for help. This time is generally not less than a day to pack gear, get supplies and alter work plans. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-08-30 22:49


What is Departure Lead Time?

This represents the amount of time you require before you can leave in response for help. This time is generally not less than a day to pack gear, get supplies and alter work plans. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-08-30 22:50


What is Departure Lead Time?

This represents the amount of time you require before you can leave in response for help. This time is generally not less than a day to pack gear, get supplies and alter work plans. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-08-30 22:50


Help Request Window Explained

 

 

 

Author: Eron Iler
Last update: 2021-09-02 22:25


Government ID

The government ID field is not displayed on the PubSafe app by default. When implemented, users will have the option to make it visible to all members. 

Future functionality may expose it to government organizations for the purpose of validating and identifying a member applying to join an organization or team. 

The Government ID field is found under the Administration menu (hamburger icon, top left)>Profile>Government ID

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-24 00:01


Platform Security

Information security is globally important and a topic of regular conversation. PubSafe, powered by Aftermath Data, wants users to be confident that industry-standard or higher, security practices are in place. Data is encrypted at rest (stored) and in transit (from the database to the mobile app or web portal) using encryption. Aftermath Data developers cannot view passwords or unique user information in the database which means if data was stolen, it would be almost impossible for anyone to unencrypt the data without government assistance. The simple reality is that the PubSafe data just isn't that important to cybercriminals. The low resale value means cybercriminals are more likely to focus on data from banks, small businesses, and other sources of credit and personal identity data which can be converted to cash by selling information on the dark web. 

User information is never sold or shared with marketing companies. This prevents the data from being share unencrypted and potentially compromised by 3rd parties with less capable security. Unfortunately, no platform is hacker-proof as seen by the US government, along with major corporations like Colonial Pipeline, Microsoft Exchange, Apple, and others. Think about how many times you have to reboot your phone or computer to apply security updates. Most of the apps you use today are potential security leaks and likely do not maintain the backend security implemented by Aftermath Data for PubSafe. Aftermath Data relies on over 21 years of online security best practices to reduce the odds of a significant cyberattack. 

The Aftermath Data infrastructure architecture is designed to provide multiple layers of protection. Security ranges from user settings to the technology used to build the mobile app and web portal, data sharing methods to the server configuration. It would not be wise to outline every security step taken which could aid potential cybercriminals. 

General Security Implemented

  • VPN connections
  • Multiple layers of password-protected resources
  • APIs
  • 256-byte encryption
  • Encryption at rest
  • Encryption in transit
  • Robust commercial-grade firewalls
  • Data compartmentalization
  • Complex and long passwords
  • Employee cyber training
  • Non-standard IP addresses
  • Regular backups to other secure locations
  • Tier 4 data centers or cloud services from platforms like AWS or Azure
  • Regular and routine security patches to servers and to mobile devices, and workstations using Microsoft 365

Author: Aftermath Data
Last update: 2021-09-27 17:53


Author: Eron Iler
Last update: 2021-10-25 18:45


Organization Membership Status

Users can join an organization but must be approved by an organization administrator. A user's status is indicated by the color dot as shown below. 

Teams do not have the same requirements as organizations for membership, communication, or management.

Author: Aftermath Data
Last update: 2021-10-28 17:32


Map

What do the different icons mean?

There are two primary user icons for Citizen Role and Responder Role. A citizen role is a silhouette and a responder role is a 6 pointed asterisk. A citizen is green unless they request help (orange) or post an emergency (red). Help requests are always orange and emergencies are always red. 

A responder's icon color will change based on their selected status. There are a variety of responder status colors. 

There are a variety of icons for various iPAWs and alerts. Click the icon to read the associated information.

 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:11


How do I find users, search or filter map contents?

  1. Click the map icon in the lower right corner.
  2. Select Map Filter
  3. Select or search for contents

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:11


How do I show map labels?

Click the map icon on the lower right corner. Select User Label.

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:10


Understanding the Map

The map is the most important aspect of PubSafe because it allows you to see and share what is going on around you. The map will help you make rapid and informed decisions. For an explanation of the map Icons - Click here

  1. Shortcut to commonly used posts and functions
  2. Filter the information viewed on the map
  3. Show or hide your location to access data below your icon
  4. Select an organization (must already be accepted as a member)
  5. Select a team (must already be part of a team)
  6. Show or hide user profile labels

Click on an icon to view the information window

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:10


Help Request Window

test

 

 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-02 22:29


About OpenStreetMap (OSM)

PubSafe uses OSM for a variety of reasons, the most important being that is global and can be edited by anyone. If operating in remote parts of the world, this is an essential function. Users can add roads, trails, bridges, and a lot more as seen below. It does not mean Google, Bing and Here maps are not excellent in many ways, there is just a cost to them. We enable linking out to them whenever it makes sense. 

  • The map is free to use and edit which means we do not have to charge users. Google mapping is quite expensive and billed on a per-user basis and on the number of images displayed. An image is every change in the map zoom level. Zooming in may use 15 images in just a few seconds.
  • Users can edit the map and the changes appear relatively quickly. Watch this video which demonstrates how OSM was used to map Haiti after their devastating earthquake in 2011. https://youtu.be/BwMM_vsA3aY 
  • Since OSM is built by users, you tend to get more interesting data and micro details important to rescue and relief operations

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-10 23:50


Administration, Portal

How is the PubSafe portal free?

As a public benefit corporation, we are not driven by making money for shareholders. This enables us to focus on features and functionality for the sake of citizens globally. 

The portal is currently funded by user subscriptions to upgraded services. This enables organizations and government agencies to spread the cost among the members. In most cases, this avoids fundraising for non-profits or annual budgeting issues for government agencies. 

We hope to keep this model in place or only charge for some of the most advanced and costly features based on an organizations membership.

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:48


How do I access the PubSafe portal?

A user must have at least the Base version of the PubSafe app to log in. Users with the free version cannot log in. Features and functionality increase with upgrades to the mobile app. The lowest level to access dispatching and CRM tools is the Pro level. 

On our website choose the Login menu from the top right corner or click the link below.

Login - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:10


How does the CRM work?

CRM stands for customer resource management. CRMs are used by all major corporations to manage and organize customer and vendor information. Popular CRMs include Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. PubSafe recognizes how important information organization and security is to NGOs. Many NGOs are still operating on Excel spreadsheets shared across multiple personal computers. This lack of control and central management puts the entire organization at risk if one person leaves. THE VALUE OF HAVING A CRM FOR NGO'S CANNOT BE OVERSTATED!

Your organization can store member information, vendors, schedule calls, document meetings, create dashboards and more. There is a separate and independent permission structure in the CRM that can be set up to allow everyone in your organization to access and enter information from the web portal or mobile app. No more hunting around for phone numbers, look them up in the CRM. 

The instance of CRM is provided free and therefore support is not available to teach users how to utilize the platform.

If training or configuration assistance is needed is it available in blocks of 20 hours for $2,500 which must be paid in advance. Use of the CRM is free until the database size reaches 3 gigabytes. Once the limit is reached you will be contacted with pricing. If you have a plug-in you want to be added to the CRM, there is an administrative fee that will vary based on the time required but there is a $250 minimum. 

For this CRM there are lots of training videos on YouTube and extensive add-ins which expand the value and capability of the CRM. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:49


How do I integrate with PubSafe?

PubSafe is open to sharing information provided the PubSafe privacy, location, and data use policy is maintained. To connect to PubSafe data an organization must identify a viable use such as public benefit research by a university, FEMA or DHS in relation to rescue and relief operations. Connections for the purpose of law enforcement or other non-rescue and relief operations are not allowed. 

Data is shared using industry-standard APIs. Contact us through the website to initiate discussion. 

Contact - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:49


Communication, Alerts, Teams & Organizations

What type of alerts are available?

The alerts available to all users can be found under the Administration>Settings menu. These alerts include many of those provided by FEMA iPAWs (earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires), National Weather Service, PubSafe communication, help requests, and emergency requests. Other alerts from organizations and teams are limited to upgraded app versions. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:08


What happens if there is no cellular or data service?

The PubSafe app requires a cellular connection with a data service to work. 

Since almost all citizen communication is cellular dependent, cell service is a top priority for utility companies. Everyone understands how important cellular service is to help those in need. Until cell service is restored, you need to be self-sufficient. 

Things to do before a disaster.

  1. Charge your devices and backup batteries.
  2. Select the Event in the PubSafe app so you can be grouped with others getting even specific alerts and communication. Admin menu>Settings>Public Event
  3. Check-in using the Status option in the lower-left corner to report your last known location and plan of action.
  4. Put devices in battery saver mode or turn them off until needed.
  5. Check your phone for service and then turn it off if there is none.
  6. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi service to reduce battery consumption.
  7. Dim the screen. Screen brightness takes a lot of battery.
  8. Avoid unnecessary phone use like recording social media videos.
  9. Be sure to enable "Show my last location" under Settings.
  10. Suspend background tracking in all apps but PubSafe. Background GPS tracking can consume a lot of battery. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:49


How can NGOs use the PubSafe platform?

The PubSafe portal was purpose-built around volunteer organizations like the Cajun Navy and Team Rubicon. There are specific tools in the app that facilitate SAR, CERT, and NGO-related activities. In the SitRep example below, select the SAR, NGO & Vol category. The list below demonstrates the wide variety of information that can be log data and coordinate efforts. 

PubSafe is a dispatching, data collection and information sharing platform to improve rescue and logistics response. It brings associated activities into a single portal so all NGO members are operating from the same environment. The PubSafe portal even lets you add User Defined Menus (UDM) to the portal so you can customize it with resources your team frequently uses. 

Potential Uses For NGOs

  1. Coordinate impromptu search parties. Have all participants install the PubSafe app so you can see everyone in the area for their safety and to ensure proper coverage. If you want to be able to view them in the portal, users must upgrade to the Pro version for the annual fee.
  2. When conducting search operations, mark evidence found so follow-on personnel can move to the exact location to evaluate the finding.
  3. Identify rally points and share a rally time with everyone at one time.
  4. Get team status reports to the map for all users to see.
  5. Log various key points during an event such as search start time, team location, special skills personnel, victims, and more. 

Global Travel

The PubSafe platform is very well suited to assist international organizations with keeping up with employees and volunteers globally. As long as cell and data service is available, users can be viewed by a central monitoring station for their safety and coordination. In high-risk situations, an organization can limit the visibility of members to just the organization. If someone were kidnapped, locating them on the PubSafe mobile app would be far faster than waiting to coordinate with authorities. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:05


How do you message a users, a team or an organization?

One user can call or text another user if contact information is visible. A user who is not part of a team or organization cannot communicate with multiple people using the PubSafe messaging functionality. The portal is reserved for organizations. 

A team member can communicate with other members of the team using the app messaging functionality but not with users not part of the team. A team can be independent or inclusive of an organization. 

An organization with Pro or Enterprise users can communicate with org members but not with users not part of the organization.

A government organization may communicate with org members and individual users not part of the organization (general users). Limits apply. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-22 21:58


How do teams work?

Teams are a grouping of users that want to share and communicate within the team. Teams can be used for families, impromptu search parties, or enterprise organizations tracking employees globally. Every organization has a team created by default so users can be invited to join an organization team. A unique org team link is created when an organization is approved to utilize the PubSafe portal. 

Users must have the Base or higher version of the PubSafe mobile app to join a team. The number of teams and the number of team members is limited by the app version. Users must select one active team and one organization at a time for information management. Users can change the active team or organization at any time.

Team and Team Member Limits:

Free: 0 & 0
Base: 2 & 5
Plus: 5 & 10
Pro: 7 & 30,000
Enterprise: 10 & 35,000
Government: 10 & 35,000
Contact us if you need a higher member limit.

Users must have a Pro or higher version of the PubSafe mobile app to join an organization. 

 

Team Member Status

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-28 21:55


How does the Active Shooter alert work?

Active shooter alerts are to designed to very quickly alert users in the immediate area of an active mass casualty event, primarily a shooter or terrorist action.  Entire buildings and campuses can be alerted in seconds in most scenarios. Users must have the PubSafe mobile app, cellular service and a data plan to receive alerts. Download - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

An active shooter (AS) alert is a very serious function, which if abused, is likely to result in criminal charges. Since PubSafe is not monitored by law enforcement, users should call 911 or local emergency services first. Then alert other users in the area using the PubSafe active shooter alert function. PubSafe is designed to augment or be part of, an overall safety program, not the primary element. 

The active shooter alert can be used in schools, churches, event venues, or any gathering. The alert is shared with all users regardless of team or organization affiliation. It is a great way to alert users in different departments or companies that work the same area.

When an AS emergency is initiated, users in an X-mile radius are alerted and automatically switched to "invisible" on the map for 60 minutes. Users can change their status back to visible by clicking the visibility icon (eyeball) in the header menu.

Users are shown a screen prompting them to 1. Flee 2. Shelter 3. Attack

Users can still post help and emergency requests during the 1 hour period of being "invisible". Under normal operations, users cannot be invisible and interact with the system or other users for safety and privacy reasons. 

SOS Menu Option

Quick Menu Option

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:05


What is a Local Gov Emergency Number?

This is the number you call in your area when there is an emergency. In the United States, it is 911, in most of Europe, it is 112. This number is tied to the Click to Call Emergency Services in many areas of the application. When traveling, you must update this number. If you are unsure of the number in your area, try searching the Internet. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-27 17:30


Messaging a Team or Organization

Members of a team or organization can message all members of the team or organization provided the user sending the message has selected the team or organization as their active group and they have the correct permission assigned. Users can switch teams or organizations at any time to send to various groups. A user must be an active member of a team or organization in order to send a message. 

Users that are only visible to their active team or organization, cannot message users outside the team or organization for security reasons. Change your visibility to Public and then message any visible user. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-22 22:05


What are the Team member status options?

  1. Green = Member
  2. Orange = Suspended
  3. Red = Removed

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-28 21:31


Dispatch and Messaging Functionality

Overview

Dispatch and Messaging functionality is limited to registered organizations and their members. Only government organizations can send a message to any PubSafe user.  To be a member of an organization you must upgrade the PubSafe mobile app to Pro and be accepted by the organization. Not all organizations that apply will be approved. 

To learn more about registering an organization click here.  

To learn how to change Orgs or Teams click here

Dispatching

Dispatching is sending a message with information compiled from a help or emergency request or to a specific waypoint location. Communication is through the PubSafe mobile app. Dispatching also includes logic for managing the flow of help requests between organizations. 

Messaging

Messaging is generally the same process as dispatching but you are generally sending information that is not associated with assigning a mission to respond to a help request or a mission. 

There are two ways to select users for who you want to send a message. 1. By using the map selection tool and the map 2. From the Member list. 

Map Selection Process

Zoom the map to the area you want to interact with. If you do not see users, zoom in closer.

  1. There are several tools available to make a map selection, choose a selection tool from the drop menu
  2. Click the "+" sign next to the drop menu. You can repeat this process to select users in multiple areas which are not connected.
  3. Select the users from the map.
  4. Depending on the tool, you may need to click the stop icon (sweep tool). Others like the square or circle do not require stopping the function.
  5. As you select users, you will see the user count increase on the second tab on the top left. Click this tab when done selecting users on the map.

User List Selection Process

  1. From the Messaging>Members menu select the users you want to message.
  2. Click the Send Message button in the top right corner. Complete the form and you are done. 

Messaging UI

  1. Set the priority
  2. Set the during the message will remain available
  3. Select a temple or create a freeform message
    1. A template can be created from any message for repetitive and consistent messaging

Member List Selection Process

Navigate to Messaging>Members

  1. You can search for a member if you have a long list.
  2. You can filter members by their group assignment. (Supervisors, Dispatchers - you set up groups for your organization)
  3. Filter by Responder or Citizen. Members can function in either role in an organization.
  4. Select individual users by checking the box.
  5. Open the create message window. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-24 15:40


Dispatching

How do I offer Help or Emergency Requests on my website?

Every organization gets a custom URL specific to use on their website and social media. This is generated when an organization is created and can be found under the Account>Admin section. This URL can be added to a website using an iframe or the link can be otherwise embedded.

When a help request is received, the unique organization code in the URL is attached to the help request. The request is then made available in the organization's queue for X minutes. If it is not dispatched to an available responder in X minutes, the request is moved to the PubSafe queue, where any organization can assign to a mission-ready responder. Only mission-ready responders can be dispatched a new mission. A responder can only be assigned one mission at a time. The duration of "X" will vary by the nature of 

The process of the mission timing out repeats until the mission is completed or marked inactive. Mission activity is tracked and will eventually be part of statistics for an organization and to study the response efforts of NGOs and other organizations. 

Request Help - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:02


How is a Wellness Check done?

A wellness check is initiated like a help request using a web form. A wellness check will be treated like a help request but with a low priority in most cases. Wellness checks enable a person, not on site, to initiate a dispatch. Because the person making the request cannot be verified or the location validated, wellness checks are more likely to take a long time to complete and can only be submitted using a web form.

If someone needs help, they request it using the PubSafe mobile app so their location information is included. 

Request Help - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 21:02


What is the process for dispatching a mission to a responder?

A mission is a request for routine or non-life-threatening help or help in an emergency. A mission might be a simple wellness check or it can be a sinking boat or heart attack. How a mission is dispatched has to do with how it is received and the alert status of organizations. 

When someone needs help at any time, by default, other users in the area receive an alert to the PubSafe app. To find people near those that need help, your approximate location is used even when the app is closed if you allow this function. If you disable it, your last know location may be used even though you are 1000 miles away. If you need help and your location is turned off for the PubSafe app, your location cannot be broadcast to others in the area. This enables users in either a Citizen or Responder Role to respond at their discretion. Users are not trained, certified, or vetted so those responding are responding in good faith. Sometimes just a friendly face makes a situation better. Other times, like that of a sinking boat, the nearest boat may be on scene an hour before the Coast Guard. 

Organizations can utilize a special link provided to collect help requests and put them into the PubSafe portal. The organization can then dispatch its members in a mission-ready responder status to a help request. This can be done at any time and might be for something as simple as a family needing food or firewood. It can also be for a family stuck on a roof during a flood and emergency services are so busy they cannot respond. During disasters, help requests which are not dispatched in X minutes will be automatically put into the PubSafe queue so any available organization can dispatch within the prescribed time limit. The amount of time allowed to be in the queue and not dispatched will vary by request time, backlog, and overall situation as determined by PubSafe. 

When a dispatcher sees a help request (HR) in the queue that matches their skill set and resources, they can forward the mission to a responder which is in a mission-ready status. The responder can then review the mission details and location and accept or decline the mission. Once accepted, the responder cannot get another mission until the current mission is cleared and they return to mission-ready status. If a mission is not updated by the responder, and the dispatcher is not communicating with the responder, the dispatcher or an organization supervisor can cancel the mission and assign to a different responder. 

Once a mission is complete it is archived for future analytics. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:51


Help Request Form - Request Details

Provide as much information as possible to assist Responders to be safe and efficient. 

Examples:

  • Number, ages, and health of people and animals
  • Location inside
  • Names of people
  • Cell phone numbers
  • Animals - type, number, size
  • Landmarks or unique features
  • Gate or building code
  • Special equipment needed
  • Medical issues
  • Hazardous material such as chemicals, propane, oxygen

Request Help - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 22:06


Help Request Form

The help request form is generally used by 3rd parties to seek help for others in a different location. If you need help or at the location, submit the form and then install the PubSafe mobile app for onging information sharing. Download - Pubsafe - Citizen Public Safety Network

Share as much detailed information as you can that will help Responders find the location more efficiently and bring the right resources. 

Location Details

  • Size, color, and type of location or building
  • Landmarks such as a pond, water tower, gate, statue, etc. 
  • Gate or building codes
  • Hazards
  • Security or physical access constraints

Help Details

  • Number, ages, and health of people and animals
  • Location inside
  • Names of people
  • Cell phone numbers
  • Animals - type, number, size
  • Landmarks or unique features
  • Gate or building code
  • Special equipment needed
  • Medical issues
  • Hazardous material such as chemicals, propane, oxygen

Form Explanation

  1. Is the help for you or someone else?
  2. Paste GPS coordinates from Google or Bing or find the location on the map below.
  3. Are you at the location where help is needed? Use the PubSafe app if you are onsite. 
  4. Describe the location to aid responders. Remember signs and normal landmarks may be missing in a fire or storm.
  5. Can you give permission to access the property?
  6. Is an access coded needed to enter a community or building?
  7. Describe the help needed in as much detail as possible.
    1. PubSafe Knowledge Base - Help Request Form - Request Details
  8. The time the request should remain active. 
  9. Include photos, videos and audio files if it will improve the rescue effort.

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 22:50


What is Departure Lead Time?

This represents the amount of time you require before you can leave in response for help. This time is generally not less than a day to pack gear, get supplies and alter work plans. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-08-30 22:51


Responder Details

Experience

  • What level of expertise do  you bring with the resources and skills listed? If you are an medical doctor you are an expert. If you are a home owner, that trims trees in the yard, you are a beginner. Over selling your skills may result in lost time time and reduced efficiency.

Skills

  • Your skills based on training and years of experience. Consider the tasks you may receive when indicating your skills. 

Departure Lead Time

  • How quickly can you be ready to deploy to a natural disaster and be gone for a 2 to 7 days? Being self sufficient is important to avoid limited resources in a disaster area. 

Resources

  • List the machinery, tools, boats, trucks and vehicles you will take with you on a deployment. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-08-30 22:58


Responder Status vs Citizen Status

Users can choose to be a Citizen or Responder in the PubSafe platform. Citizens are everyday users that have no skills or desire to identify as someone ready, willing, and able to help. Being a citizen does not preclude you from helping another user and Citizens are alerted when a nearby help request is posted. Responders are volunteering to be called on and are typically part of an NGO, but are not required to be part of an NGO. Responders who are not part of an NGO are only going to get tasked with a mission if all org members in the area are not available. It is best if all Responders work with an NGO or government agency. 

To be a Responder you must upgrade to a paid subscription of PubSafe Plus or higher. The minimum fee is $.99/mo. This is to discourage the average person from holding themselves out as a Responder needlessly. Even $.99/mo will discourage many unqualified or disingenuous Responders. 

Users can go between being a Citizen and Responder user at any time but only Responders with a status of Mission ready can be assigned a mission. Update your mission status frequently.

 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-13 19:38


Responder Mission Status

Only responders can be tasked with a mission and only when in mission-ready status. To receive a mission open the More>Change Role menu and select Responder. If you want to stop acting as a responder, simply switch back anytime. The bar above the map will be green for Citizen and blue for Responder. It will also show your Mission Status.

When en route to a large natural disaster, you should go into a responder role and indicate you are mission ready. Dispatchers monitoring the situation will see your location and assign you an appropriate mission based on your location, skills, and resources. There is a lot of misinformation during disasters so responders must be ready for any situation and never operate alone. 

Responder Status:

  • Mission Ready - No current mission assigned and ready for a new mission. Only 1 mission can be assigned at a time. 
  • On Mission - Actively working an assigned mission.
  • Mission Complete - This shares the disposition of a mission with the dispatchers so they can mark the mission complete and focus on the next mission.
  • Mission Not Complete - This shares the disposition of the mission with the dispatchers so they can search for an alternative course of action.
  • On Break - Resting and recovering, unable to accept a mission for a "short" period. This helps dispatchers work efficiently and not call people who are not ready to receive a new mission.
  • Off Duty - No longer working the event. Likely preparing to leave the area.
  • Returning Home - Still in responder status but returning home or to long-term rest and recovery location.

Author: Eron Iler
Last update: 2021-09-13 19:57


Mission Queue

PubSafe is unique in its ability to coordinate help and emergency requests across multiple NGOs and organizations from many different sources such as mobile apps, websites, social media, and call-ins. 

Mission of PubSafe

The mission of the PubSafe platform is to save lives and reduce the suffering of people and animals. All portal functionality is designed to this end. All users and organizations utilizing the PubSafe platform should also share this overriding belief. Sometimes this means taking actions that are for the greater good. PubSafe's goal is to eliminate challenges encountered in previous disasters, like those referenced in a comment from a government offical after Hurricane Michael, "we had a thousand help requests we could not get to". PubSafe provides the tools to ensure help requests receive response after a disaster.

Importance of Time Management

PubSafe is able to cross coordinate between multiple organizations in real-time through the use of time management tools. Help and emergency requests (HER) are extremely time-sensitive. The longer it takes for help to arrive, the greater the loss of people, animals, and property. Therefore, the most important part of a collective HER response is to send the nearest qualified responder regardless of the organization that receives the request. Qualified may mean formal training, or the best available at the time. It may mean providing a general helping hand until a more qualified responder or additional resources arrive. Good Samaritan Act was intended to facilitate people helping people, to the best of their abilities. 

Sources of Help & Emergency Requests

PubSafe facilitates gathering help requests from multiple sources so they can be managed through a single online portal. Requests can be made through PubSafe's mobile app, direct entry into the portal or through third-party NGO sources. Organizations are provided with a unique online help request form. Each form URL is specific to an organization so any HER received from organization sources are routed to the organization's queue. HER's received through PubSafe sources are routed to PubSafe's queue. 

Definitions

  • Dwell Time - the length of time a help request remains in an organization queue
  • Good Samaritan Act: Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those whom they believe to be injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated. The protection is intended to reduce bystanders' hesitation to assist for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentioned injury or wrongful death. An example in common-law areas of Canada: a good Samaritan doctrine is a legal principle that prevents a rescuer who voluntarily helps a victim in distress from being sued for wrongdoing. Its purpose is to encourage rendering assistance to strangers in need. Consult with general counsel to understand the risks. 
  • Queue - List of active help or requests for assistance

PubSafe queues are available to all organizations to assist with the management of help requests. Requests received through the PubSafe mobile app, website, social media or otherwise, are available to all organizations that use the PubSafe portal. Citizens and other responders can see these help requests on the PubSafe map. Once a mission is assigned and accepted by an organization, the mission cannot be assigned to another responder until status is changed to Mission Incomplete. Dispatchers work with responders to ensure mission status' are current and unsuccessful missions are release back into the queue so they can be tasked to a different responder. 

Help requests that exceed dwell time are automatically moved to the PubSafe queue. This allows help requests to be assigned to other responders available through other organizations. If a help request is assigned from the PubSafe queue by an organization, the organization has X minutes of dwell time to assign it to a an available responder or it is returned to the queue for reassignement. 

The amount of dwell time varies based on several factors. Factors include the size of the backlog for all organizations, government feedback, the scale of the disaster, average response times, and as well as other variables. PubSafe updates dwell time as needed throughout an event to optimize the response times. Each help request will eventually include a countdown timer that reflects the amount of dwell time remaining before return to the PubSafe queue. Before a request is assigned, organizations should have responders in mission-ready status. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-13 22:40


Mobile App

How do I use the PubSafe mobile app?

The mobile app is easy to use but quite robust.

After launching the app:

  1. Select from the 4 menu options along the bottom based on your intended use. Only a few items are required*. 
  2. Select a top-level sub-category
  3. Enter a subject for the dispatchers and others to read quickly
  4. Select specific items from the list so responders know what is needed to respond to a help request or to stare detailed information
  5. Add photos or videos to assist others in understanding the situation
  6. Add a free-form comment
  7. Submit

A user can be in either the default Citizen status or can change to Responder under the more menu. A user must upgrade to at least the Plus app version to go into Responder status. Only users which are very familiar with the app and are available to respond to help requests should change from the default status of Citizen to Responder. Qualified users can go switch between Citizen and Responder at any time to signal their status to others. 

Watch more videos on our YouTube channel.

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:52


What is the difference between a Citizen and a Responder?

By default, all app users start at Citizens. Citizens are users which are not signaling that they are ready or able to assist others during a routine help request, emergency, or disaster. Only users with some level of training should consider switching to a Responder role. 

To be a Responder, you must update the app version to Plus or higher. Plus users can be responders but cannot join organizations or use the advanced functionality of the PubSafe portal. Responders operating independently could be contacted to respond to a help request by an NGO or other organization but this would only happen if responders with an organization are not available. Operating as an independent responder is discouraged for a variety of reasons. Find a non-government organization (NGO) like the United Cajun Navy, Red Cross, or Team Rubicon and join their team. There is safety in numbers and teamwork always provides a better response than lone responders. In some cases, it may be illegal to be in some areas without being part of an approved NGO.

Responders are required to list skills, resources, and qualifications so dispatchers can match the right responder to a help or emergency request. 

After upgrading to Plus or higher, select the More menu in the lower right corner, and then Change Role. A responder icon on the map has an astricts (*) in the middle. The color of the icon indicates the responder's mission readiness status (mission-ready, off duty, on a mission, etc)

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:56


How does an SOS emergency work?

SOS should only be used for life and death emergencies. Using the SOS falsely is likely a crime as emergency responders may, or may not, see the request and respond. 

To initiate an SOS simply click the icon at the top of the mobile app and follow the steps. Any emergency must be renewed as indicated by the countdown timer. SOS emergencies that expire may be canceled and response efforts stopped.

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:56


How do I find and share my location?

Select your icon on the map. It is the one that is always black regardless of you being in a responder or citizen role. Other users will see your icon based on your status.

You can click Share via SMS, read the coordinates to someone or copy from a text message to paste into another app. 

 

 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:56


What is a SitRep used for?

SitRep is a military term for a situation report. A sitrep is a clear, structured, and concise way to share information in a standardized format. In PubSafe, every user is a real-time data node. The more information shared, the better the information for those responding. Sharing that nothing is going on in your area is just as important as a flood or down powerline somewhere else. Responders know where and what to allocate to the response with good information. Post lots of SitReps as you move around and see what is happening. Include photos or a short video to really give people confidence in what you are reporting. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-07-22 20:56


What is the tracking interval?

This is the frequency at which your location is logged. (This data is never sold or used for commercial purposes)

For more details on all tracking settings - click here

Sharing location information is important for your safety, dispatching as part of a rescue team, sending you location-based alerts and notifications, and finding you if something goes wrong. You have many options to go "invisible" or reduce your visibility to other PubSafe users.

Cross Reference: Visibility options - Click here

Update: Update screen capture when new tracking interval options are implemented. 

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-27 16:01


What is the logging/tracking rate and transmit rate?

The tracking or logging rate is how often a location is captured. The transmit rate is how often a location is sent to the server to update your location in case of an emergency, to share help requests near you, and to provide alerting functions. These two variables may be the same or different depending on the options selected. You have a variety of options to customize your location and privacy settings. To edit your in app visibility to other users - click here

If the app is not in cell phone coverage with an Internet connection, location information cannot be transmitted. 

Foreground Location (app is being used or open on the phone desktop)

Location Changing:

Current Logic

  • 120 seconds 9 (default)
  • 20 seconds (HD - not recommended in a prolonged natural disaster or where power is unavailable for recharging)
  • 300 seconds - power saver

Future Logic

  • SAR Mode = 30 sec (App launched by the user. High accuracy for detailed information. Speed > 2 mph or every 100')
  • Default = 2 minutes (App launched by the user. Moderate accuracy. Speed > 2 mph or every 500')
  • Eco Mode = 5 minutes (App launched by the user. Low accuracy. Speed >2 mph or every 1,000')
  • Battery Saver Mode = 10 minutes (App launched by the user. Minimal accuracy. Speed >5 mph or every 1,320' [quarter miles])
  • Alert & Safety Mode = 30 minutes (App running in the background - has not been opened by the user. Time-based only.)

Location Changing:

  • 30 minutes

Cross-reference: PubSafe Knowledge Base - What is the tracking interval?

Author: PubSafe
Last update: 2021-09-27 16:05