Gino Spinelli, base chief of CFB Esquimalt (left), and navy Capt. Jason Boyd, base commander of CFB Esquimalt, show off the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre’s newest app that includes tips, checklists and a customizable countdown clock to help military members and their families before, during and post deployment. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

New app supports members, families on deployment

App is first of its kind in the country

When Jaime Fraser finds out her husband will be deployed overseas to serve with the Canadian Forces, she’s often hit with a wave of emotions.

Working full-time and coming home and taking care of two daughters can be a challenge. Doing it without a spouse is an even bigger one. In the weeks leading up to her husband’s deployment, sometimes simple things can turn into fights, such as why the dishwasher hasn’t been unloaded.

“There is a plethora of emotions that people go through … your emotions are heightened and the world is falling apart around you,” said Fraser, a petty officer first class and Colwood resident.

Adding to those issues is the growing list that members and their families need to get done before being away for weeks or months at a time: Will your mortgage renew or lapse while you’re away? Do you need child or pet care? Will your home insurance expire?

But now there’s an app for that.

The Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre recently launched a new app – the first of its kind in the country – that provides tips to guide members of the military (army, navy and the air force) and their families through all stages of a deployment. It offers checklists to keep track of their to-do lists, a resource library, and a customizable countdown clock, which begins as soon as a member deploys.

It can be downloaded and used by members on deployments when they don’t have access to wifi.

“There’s easily locatable information about things that frequently come up during deployments whether that be about how to properly financially plan, child care, bill payments, are easily accessible and there on the app,” said navy Capt. Jason Boyd, base commander of CFB Esquimalt. “It’s a tremendous tool and we’re really excited about the launch of it.”

Fraser starting using the app when it launched in October and has already gone through many of the tips. She said the app covers a lot of information and is a great start in getting family involved in the deployment process.

“I think this is a great step forward,” said Fraser, who is ramping up for a deployment in the near future. “It’s going to make this whole lifestyle and deployment process easier on everyone … It’s going to allow people to be a lot more prepared.”

Other bases are already starting to take notice of the app as well and it is being used in Edmonton and Halifax.

The MFRC Deployment App is available for iOS at the app store and android devices in the Google Play Store. The centre recently receiving funding from the federal government to develop the app for Blackberry devices as well.

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