We are thrilled to announce that Watch Duty is now available throughout the Western United States!
We have been recruiting new volunteers and building software all winter in anticipation of this momentous occasion. Our software engineers have been hard at work strengthening our systems to handle more geographic areas and the increase in usage. We’ve recruited more radio scanners in more places — retired firefighters, dispatchers, and first responders, experienced fire reporters — to interpret what is happening in real-time. Together we are excited to bring our world-class wildfire and disaster monitoring service to more corners of the United States.
In preparation for this year’s fire season we encourage everyone to make sure they have the latest version of our app (2023.5.2 or later), which is available for download on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Thank you for your support. Please help us by letting your friends and relatives in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico know about this big news!
Calling volunteers, we’re expanding outside of California! We’ve already begun onboarding radio scanners and reporters from Oregon, Washington, and Nevada but we still need more to cover the entire American West. watchduty.org/volunteer
As a non-profit organization we rely on volunteers for everything from reporters to software engineering; 60 to be exact. The most critical to our expansion are radio scanners who listen to first responder radio communications and report on the fire as it happens. If this sounds like you or someone you know please send them to our volunteer page at watchduty.org/volunteer.
Or if your skills lay elsewhere such as legal services or software engineering we could really use your help. All of our software and systems are built to help support our radio scanners and reporters so they can hear everything and never miss a radio transmission.
Please refer to our volunteer job board at watchduty.org/volunteer for more information about volunteering and please share this with anyone you think would be a fit.
Happy new year and a heartfelt thank you to all of our supporters, donors, and volunteers who helped us successfully raise $1.35M! This overwhelming support is what drives us to do what we do every day and will fuel us through 2023 and beyond.
With fundraising behind us for the next year we will be putting our heads down to dive deeper into building more features and a better product to help keep us all safe and informed. We have a lot of exciting things coming your way including evacuation maps, shelter locations, tanker tracker, and much more.
On top of that, we are onboarding more reporters not only for California but for surrounding states. Even deeper behind the scenes we are deploying more radio scanners across California to make sure we never miss a first responder’s radio transmission. And fresh out of our skunkworks lab, we now autodetect orders for wildland fire strike teams, heavy equipment, and air support right out of the airwaves!
Our team has always gone above and beyond the call of duty for our community but now with this fresh new funding we are really going to push the envelope of what is possible. You can expect a lot more from us this coming fire season but for now we’ll spare your inboxes and go back to what we do best, building the world-class Emergency Alert System that we deserve.
As 2022 comes to a close we find ourselves reminiscing about the successes of the year as well as our big plans for the new year. We began this year with only 7 reporters covering 4 California counties (Sonoma, Lake, Napa, and Mendocino) and finished the year covering all 58 counties in California with only 19 reporters!
Since covering all of California on June 1st, we have monitored nearly 1,600 incidents and sent out over 9,500 updates which resulted in 50 Million notifications being sent out to the community. Many of those reports resulted in early evacuations and saving lives as we were the first to notify on several deadly fires this year.
To support our reporters, our volunteer team of engineers built new capabilities and strengthened our platform ensuring we will be able to continue providing this free resource to the community. In the last 6 months, we have:
And finally, we announced our big plans to expand across the West Coast and hiring a full time staff with our $2M fundraising campaign! The outpouring of support from the community has been nothing short of amazing but we are still only 28% of the way there.
If you feel that Watch Duty has helped you live more peacefully with wildfires, please consider donating today to help support our team for 2023. All donations are tax-deductible.
Did you know that Watch Duty reporters monitor first responder radio communications in real-time 24/7? This is how we are able to relay information to you so fast – but if we can’t hear, we can’t help.
After identifying millions of acres of Internet radio dead zones throughout the state we knew that in order to serve our community better we had to take a hard swing at solving this problem.
Our volunteer team has gone above and beyond the call of duty again to build radio scanners that are being deployed throughout California to these dead zones to ensure that our reporters can hear into the deepest forests.
Our Watch Duty Scanners are capable of capturing first responder radio communications as well as aircraft transponders and relay them over the Internet making these communications available to Watch Duty Reporters and the public at large. Interested in the tech?– see the technical details at the bottom of this email.
Our plan for 2023 is to complete our deployment of our scanners throughout all of California so there are no more dead zones and we are able to confidently monitor the entire state – rural or not. But to do this, we need your help. Your donations will help us to deploy scanners everywhere to help keep you safe.
Each Watch Duty Scanner is made up of the following components:
Each Watch Duty Scanner uses a modular architecture that can scale as needed to each deployment location. Our largest scanner to date uses 8 SDRs to capture 16 MHz of RF bandwidth and is processing 75 simultaneous audio channels, merging them into 8 stereo streams organized by agency, while at the same time tracking aircraft positions with ADS-B. We are currently targeting the following RF bands:
Audio feeds from our Watch Duty Scanners are being shared with the public using Broadcastify.com and the aircraft positions are shared using ADSBExchange which feeds Flight Tracker 24 among others. Here is our Siskiyou County Fire feed where the deadly Mill Fire took place earlier this year.