|MASAS - Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System|
Canada’s Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS) is an information aggregation system that facilitates sharing situational awareness within the public safety community. Information shared relates to incidents and planned events. It includes public alerts, risks to responders, and community profiles.
Hundreds of Canadian public safety organizations have access to MASAS, and several first response agencies use it to help reduce call times and improve the safety of responders. MASAS is also being used to prepare for and mitigate resource conflicts before and during planned events. E.g. Marathons, festivals.
A virtual and visual MASAS exercise environment has been used throughout Canada, and during cross border exercises.
Interfacing with MASAS
MASAS participants can connect to MASAS in many ways, including their own commercial incident management and geographic information systems (GIS). A common MASAS toolset (see image) ensures all public safety organizations can benefit from MASAS using desktop and mobile internet browsers.
MASAS monitors and polls situational awareness information from a variety of sources, including Canadian and U.S. public alerting systems. Some systems automatically push data to MASAS as it is created. E.g. Computer aided dispatch (CAD), provincial incident management and wildfire systems.
Shared Situational Awareness
When it became clear that nearly all situational awareness shared between agencies was non-sensitive, and that sharing highly sensitive information would preclude many agencies from connecting to MASAS, the content scope was limited to non-sensitive. Some organizations post that more sensitive information is available, and how to obtain it. E.g. Health and safety risks to responders.
Steps are being taken to ensure MASAS supports the community for the long-term. As a first step, Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) has contracted the Canadian Public Safety Operations Organization (CanOps) to provide governance administration, business operations, communications and outreach, and user technical support. DRDC CSS continues to maintain and host the MASAS systems and applications they developed and have supported since 2011.
History of the National MASAS
In January 2011, senior federal, provincial, and territorial public safety officials, along with police, fire, and paramedic chiefs’ association representatives, identified multi-agency situational awareness as a national public safety priority in the Communications Interoperability Strategy for Canada (CISC). By the end of the year, Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS), in partnership with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Public Safety Canada, had launched the national Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS) operational pilot.
More than 500 Canadian and U.S. municipal, provincial, territorial, federal, First Nations, non-government, and key infrastructure organizations connected with each other through MASAS during the operational pilot period.
Pilot success lead to a DRDC CSS and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) open Request for Information (RFI), seeking solutions that would ensure MASAS continued to serve the public safety community ongoing. One response stood out above all others, and it came from the Council of Canadian Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners (CCFMFC). CCFMFC proposed to lead the establishment of a national not-for-profit corporation (CanOps), that would be governed by senior public safety officials, and that would fulfill operational roles for national public safety programs and services, including MASAS. In November 2014 PWGSC and DRDC CSS selected the CCFMFC approach.
About the CSSP
MASAS is supported by the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP), a federal program led by Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS), in partnership with Public Safety Canada.
The CSSP is a federally-funded program to strengthen Canada’s ability to anticipate, prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters, serious accidents, crime and terrorism through the convergence of science and technology with policy, operations and intelligence.