NSW Firies consider dispatch via mobile phones

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NSW Firies consider dispatch via mobile phones
(Source: FRNSW Facebook page)

‘House burn down plz halp’.

NSW Fire and Rescue is hoping to end its reliance on alarms and printers to spur on-duty fire fighters into action, and has begun testing the market for more modern solutions.

The state’s 338 fire stations are currently alerted to a nearby incident - phoned in via 000 and entered into the agency’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) - details of the case are automatically printed out in hard copy.

The rapidly modernising organisation, however, is hoping the industry will be able to offer a replacement that will allow the CAD to send alerts directly to firies physically located outside the station.

FRNSW signalled that it wants to find a way to alert frontline staff – and have them acknowledge the deployment – via iOS or Android devices.

While aiming to boost the amount of information sent through to staff at the stations – via printouts or displayed on in-station monitors – the agency also hopes on-screen maps and audible incident details with voice-activated responses might be enabled from firefighter smartphones.

The tender is the first tangible sign of the shape FRNSW’s internal mobility push will take.

In April, FRNSW CIO Richard Host told iTnews he hoped to have a full-scale BYOD scheme set up for the workforce soon.

“I think anybody should be allowed to use their personal phone or device if it is convenient for them to do so,” he said.

“The future is to acquire many of our applications as-a-service from various clouds.”

The full replacement of the agency’s “ageing” alert system will phase out the current dedicated ‘firestation activation PC’ that integrates with CAD, as well as the fire station PA system that plays the alarm, the input for fire-fighters to register their acknowledgement of the alert, and the existing printers and monitors.

FRNSW replaced its CAD system just over a year ago, and is also leveraging the new technology to install vehicle tracking technology in all service vehicles, allowing the closest trucks to an incident to be deployed to a fire rather than just who is in the station when the alarm goes off.

It hopes to have all 560 trucks fitted out by the end of the year.

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