The NSW Rural Fire Service will deploy mobile data terminals in all of its firefighting vehicles from later this year to give firefighters better access to critical fireground information and intelligence.
Fujitsu Australia said it will develop, install and maintain the Panasonic MDTs in more than 5000 vehicles after entering a six-year contract with the agency earlier this year at a cost of $70 million.
The MDTs are expected to improve incident response by providing firefighters with access to mission critical information such as satellite and topography imagery and weather updates.
The terminals will also connect to RFS’s newly-updated Fujitsu computer-aided dispatch system, bringing the agency into line with other emergency services agencies like Fire and Rescue NSW.
Firefighters will use a “specialised Fujitsu program and AWS-hosted software from Adashi Systems” to access the mission critical systems.
RFS commissioner Rob Rogers said the MDTs were one way the agency has been working to improve its planning, preparation and response since the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.
“We believe digitising our operations will help us be more agile and enhance our firefighting capability,” he added.
A 2020 inquiry into the natural disaster recommended the RFS “accelerate” its proposed rollout of MDTs to “improve delivery of briefings and incident information/intelligence to field commanders”.
RFS had identified installation of MDTs as a priority in the wake of the bushfire, with a view to having the terminals fully rolled out by the 2021-22 fire season.
The NSW government provided the RFS a $192 million grant for new emergency infrastructure following the report.
Fujitsu is now in the process of “building the integration systems, using cloud-based infrastructure to run the Adashi software platform and manage critical incidents safety and efficiently”.
The company is planning to begin installing MDTs into firefighting vehicles from late 2022.
“Fujitsu is pleased to be helping the NSW RFS improve frontline situational awareness for firefighters, and protect our rural communities, people, property and the environment,” Fujitsu Australia’s head of industry for public sector Dave Lennon said.