Getting Started with a New County Account

Were you just assigned a new MCG account? The following TechTips/links may help you:

If you have any questions or need troubleshooting, please submit a Technology Service Request (TSR) and someone from FRS Technology will contact you.

Adding an Alternate E-Mail Address or Cell Number for MFA

Do you prefer not to use your MFA key fob when you need to access county e-mail or ePortal? You may opt to use a personal e-mail address or cell number to receive a multi-factor authentication code.

  • Log into ePortal.
  • Hover over the words AccessMCG Self-Service, located at the top-right corner of the screen.
    AccessMCG Menu Link
  • Choose Manage Account.
  • Log into ePortal again, as prompted.
  • Find and click Setup Alternate Phone/Email/App Contacts.
    MFA Option to Add E-Mail or Phone
  • Input an MFA code, if you receive one to an existing (pre-setup) location.
  • Add your personal e-mail address and/or cell phone number. When you add one, click the Save button and input the code that is sent to that location, to finalize the connection between ePortal and the account/device.
  • Click the Continue button.
  • Click the Logout link at the bottom of the list of links.

Recording Standby Hours and Hours Worked On-Call

Are you in an on-call rotation, earning standby pay, and wondering how to record it in MCtime? There are two different statuses to consider:

  • Standby: When you are available to work (outside of your normal shift) within the on-call period. For this status, add a row and change the Pay Code to Standby Pay. Enter the number of hours outside of your normal schedule that you did not perform any work in response to calls.
  • OT: When you do the work (outside of your normal shift) within the on-call period. For this status, add a row and keep the Pay Code as Hours Worked, but add the proper Reason Code for your group (see list below). Enter the number of hours/partial hours you worked in response to a call.

Civilian Scenario A – Standby with No Response Needed:
You were on-call (Facilities, IT and/or CMF mechanic) all day Sunday and then the morning of Monday, prior to your work day. You did not need to perform any work in response to a call.

Civilian Scenario B – Standby with 1.5 Hours of Response Work:
You were on-call (Facilities, IT and/or CMF mechanic) all day Sunday and then the morning of Monday, prior to your work day. You responded to calls and worked 1.5 hours on Sunday.

Uniformed Scenario A – Standby with No Response Needed:
You are a day worker, assigned to PSHQ and you were on-call (Facilities and/or PIO) Monday evening. You did not need to perform any work in response to a call.
Standby MCtime C

Uniformed Scenario B – Standby with 4.5 Hours of Response Work:
You are a day worker, assigned to PSHQ and you were on-call (Facilities and/or PIO) Monday evening. You responded to calls and worked 0.75 hours on Thursday evening.
Standby MCtime D

GroupStandby Reason CodeWord Reason Code
CMF MechanicsFRS072SBFRS072MR
FacilitiesFRS073SBFRS073AH
ITFRS071SBFRS071IT
PIOFRS077SBFRS077PI

Notes:

  • Only one person in your group may be in standby status at any particular time.
  • You may not be in regular work status and standby simultaneously.
  • You may not have more than 24 hours in one day, so remember to subtract any actual hours worked manually from the standby hours.

Using the Union Tool in Visio

Drawing structures on maps may seem daunting but the Union tool makes it very easy.  You are able to draw structures using a series of overlapping shapes and use the Union tool to merge the shapes together leaving just the perimeter outline.

Note: No matter what angle your structure will appear on your final map, it is much easier to draw it square and then simply rotate it to the actual angle.  Similarly, it is much easier to draw the structure larger than necessary and then resize it to fit your final map.

Complete the following steps to draw your structure:

  • Click on Shapes.
  • Use the shapes tools to draw a series of overlapping shapes to create the perimeter of the building.  In this example, it is a donut style apartment building with bump outs on Side Charlie and an overhanging portico on Side Alpha.  There is also a loading dock walled off on Side Bravo.

 

  • Highlight all the shapes and click on Union.

    

All of the highlighted shapes have merged and you now have the perimeter outline of your building.

You are able to adjust the angle or size of the building by completing the following these steps:

  • Use the rotate symbol at the top of the drawing to change the angle of the building.
  • Use the section handles (the small circles in the corners, sides, or top/bottom) to resize the building.

 

Assigning Items to Layers in Visio

Layers are one of the best tools in Visio as they make editing so much easier.  If you add all of your items to different layers you can turn them on and off.  For example, if all your streets are on a layer named “streets” you can turn that layer off in order to print off blank street maps to conduct street drills.  If you have all your structures from a map page on the same layer you can turn off  the other layers except the structures layer in order to edit them all at once, such as increasing the weight of the lines of the buildings to make them stand out more.

Anything copied from GIS maps will come with its own layer assigned.  If you create anything of your own you will need to either add it to an existing layer or create a new layer to assign it . To do so, follow these steps.

  • Click the item you wish to add to a layer (a hydrant for example) Click, on Layers then click on Assign to Layer in the dropdown menu.

  • Check the box next to the layer if it already exists.

Each first due has features unique to that area.  There may be times the layer you want does not exist.  If you need to create a layer, complete the following step:

  • Click on New. A new window will pop up prompting you to provide a name for the layer. The item is now assigned to that layer.

Note: If you are doing hydrants for example, there will be several on a page.  You can either assign the first one to a layer and then copy and paste it over and over to get the number of hydrants you need or assign it to a layer and then add it to your station stencil (see tech tip on creating stencils) drag and drop from the stencil.

Creating New Stencils in Visio

Each first due has features unique to that area.  Visio allows you to create a stencil that is uniform and specific to your station. These new stencils can be accessed in One Drive by anyone in your station that works on maps.  For example, you can add hydrants (already on a layer) to the stencil, you can add any new symbols you have created (such as Knox Boxes or FACP’s), you can even use for street names (to make size and font uniform) or for map page identifiers.

Note: If you add items to a layer (see Tech Tip on layers) before adding it to the stencil, then it will automatically be on that layer every time you drag and drop from stencil in the future.

To create your own stencil, follow these steps.

  • Click More Shapes in the stencil menu and then select New Stencil (US Units).  This will create a new stencil that has a number after it.

  •  Right click on this stencil and select Save As.  Type a name for the stencil.Note: Save the new stencil to One Drive or the backup location where your station is saving their maps.  If you save it locally, the new stencil can only be accessed under your profile.

 

You will notice that there is a small asterisk symbol next to your stencil name.  Anytime you add something to the stencil, this will change to a floppy disk symbol as a reminder that your stencil must be saved.

  • Click on the floppy disk symbol regularly to save changes to your stencil.

    

  • Drag items from your map into your stencil and rename as needed.

    

Opening Stencils in Visio

MCFRS has several stencils that can be utilized when creating maps and for training purposes.  These stencils contain common items such as hydrants for creating preplans, hoseloads and apparatus for creating driver training equations, structure mockups for creating scenarios for training and many more.  To access these use the following steps.

  • Find and click the Stencil Menu

  • Find and click More Shapes, once the stencil menu has expanded.
  • Select Open Stencil

 

  • Click This PC and select the T: Drive.  The T: Drive contains Montgomery County Maps and Preplans.
  • Click on the “Visio” folder and select the 5 stencils that are listed.  These five stencils are now available to use in your stencil menu.

    

  • Click on a stencil and drag into your maps to use.

 

Understanding the 800 MHz Radio Changes (October 2022)

There are two main changes to the 800 MHz radio system for October 2022:

  • Fleetmap change regarding PG County zone
  • FDTA change regarding tone and EB

Fleetmap Change

PG County has realigned zone 8 to match MCFRS when it comes to Ops and Dispatch.

  • 8A1 is now Ops
  • 8A2 is now Disp

FDTA Tone Gone

Effective with the upgrade to your radio, you will no longer hear a tone when you press your PTT on FDTA. This may take some time for people to get used to, but it was necessary with the other change (EB, below).

FDTA EB Available (but Limited)

The EB is now functional on FDTA, but not exactly likely it is on talkgroups that go through the trunked system. (Remember, FDTA is still a simplex channel, unheard by ECC.) Here are the basics:

  • What happens when I am on FDTA and activate my EB?
    • You effectively launch an EB activation.
    • You will hear a tone every 10 seconds.
    • ECC will not know that you have launched an EB and it is up to your incident commander to include ECC.
  • Will people who are scanning FDTA know that I have launched an EB?
    • Their radios will flash EA received (with your apparatus name and position, as shown in the example below), but it will only flash for them. It will then jump back to their TG(s).
    • They will not hear an extended tone.
    • The orange banner will rotate briefly between your apparatus name with riding position and your known location (if accessible, unlike the image below).
      EB on FDTA
  • What is the range on who will know I have pressed my EB?
    • This is no different than the normal range for FDTA. Line of sight is about a mile, but buildings and various building materials shorten that.
  • What if I press the EB accidentally? Is clearing the EB on FDTA the same as on any other talkgroup?
    • Yes, simply press and hold a few seconds until it clears.
    • There is no need to tell ECC, though.

 

Recording a Save During a Fire in FireApp

Do you believe that someone on your incident saved a person from a fire? Effective September 2022, there is now a place in FireApp to record this. (Note: Do not worry about a formal department definition of the word save. If you believe one of the people on the incident saved a person, it is worth capturing.)

Once you add this to your report, a group of people in MCFRS will be notified and will contact you for more information.

  • Move to the Loss/Casualty tab in your FireApp incident report.
  • Find the Fire Save Data tab in the second-level navigation.
    Fire Save Data tab
  • Click in the box for Fire Saves Performed? and select the appropriate answer to the right (yes/no).
  • Click in the Number of Fire Saves box and select the accurate number, assuming your first answer was yes. (Note: The number will be required if you responded yes to having fire saves.)

Fixing the September 2022 Java Error

With the Java update of version 1.8.0_341, an error may arise. Here is the way to fix that error:

  • Note the security warning pop-up.
    Java Error Message
  • Check the box at the lower left corner, to indicate you accept the risk associated and click the Run button.
  • Wait for the next pop-up warning screen, as shown below:
  • Click the Run with the latest version button.
  • Wait for the last screen to appear, as shown below:
  • Check box box (labeled Do not show this again) and click the Allow button.
  • Run MCtime, Oracle or whatever other app you had intended when you were originally prompted with this error.

As with anything else tech-related, please do not hesitate to submit a TSR if you still have trouble.