Project casebook: Command and control centres

Wireless profiles emergency services that are using command and control technology to increase their efficiency

Project casebook: Command and control centres

Eagles not bogeys at Ryder Cup thanks to command units

The 38th Ryder Cup, the historic golf tournament between the US and Europe, was held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales in early October. The European team narrowly won the event, which is viewed by a television audience of more than two billion. However, more challenging from a safety point of view was the crowd of more than 45,000 who came to view the event on site each day.

Security and policing for the event was carried out by Gwent Police and central to the successful management of the event were Gwent Police’s two Incident Command Units.

One unit operated as silver command and the other as bronze, both reporting back to gold command using wireless technology.

The vehicles were supplied by Excelerate Technology, a satellite broadband communications and command systems integration company, which specialises in supporting emergency service, broadcast and event support customers.

Each vehicle provides a spacious working environment with three workstations that feature ruggedised screens on which a wide variety of specialised applications can be run. These include risk and asset management database information and email, instant messaging and video conferencing as well as a backup independent GSM network.

A roof-mounted transportable satellite solution enables real-time voice, data and video information to be shared. In addition, two flat-screen monitors have been installed in the silver command unit to enable staff to view television news pictures and live video images transmitted into the vehicle from external, mast-mounted optical and dual thermal cameras or body-worn cameras. Several officers policed the course from mountain bikes wearing cameras and radios so a rapid response to any issues could take place.

Superintendent Nigel Russell of Gwent Police commented: ‘When we were developing plans for the Ryder Cup it was clear that there was an opportunity to use technology to give commanders as much information as we could before they took operational decisions. This was the first event where we deployed our command vehicle, and it really paid off.’

Control system software sees Ryder Cup run as smooth as a putting green

For the efficient management of the Ryder Cup, Gwent Police also turned to CORTEXremote, a software integrated communications control system (SICCS) developed by APD to effectively manage its 150 officers and 300 support staff who patrolled the 1,400 acre event.

SICCS provides communication and management features that would otherwise only be available in a static police control room. The system fits into a briefcase and can be integrated seamlessly into almost any area with an internet connection, making it truly mobile.

Functionality includes the ability to monitor, control and patch together multiple task group channels, respond to officers’ emergency alarms, over-ride officers’ transmissions, receive status messages and stun radio terminals.

Gwent Police used the system to provide control room staff with the same functionality of a force control room, and the system offered vital support to the officers on site and the co-ordinating officers in the surrounding area who were responsible for traffic control and ensuring the safety of attending golf fans.

As well as being an appropriate tool for large planned events such as the Ryder Cup, CORTEXremote mobile workstations can be deployed to take early control of major or protracted incidents, freeing up resources in a main control room to deal with other incidents and priorities.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service selects CyberTech Pro

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has introduced Cybertech’s Recording and Quality Monitoring Solution in its control rooms and contact centres.

YAS has created a virtual call centre with an automatic call management centre that links five separate call centres so they can operate as a single point of contact for all patients.

The virtual call centre handles an average of two million calls per year, of which more than 600,000 are emergency calls. YAS is required to randomly audit 3% of emergency calls for quality assessment so it has chosen the CyberTech solution for recording and storing radio, VoIP and telephone conversations locally at each of the five sites, with central archiving for total resilience and remote administration. The system YAS implemented has capacity to provide up to 56,000 hours of online storage.

David Johnson, assistant director of information management and technology at YAS, said: ‘We chose the solution because it provides us with optimum risk management and operational flexibility to match our requirements. Its intuitive user interface makes it very easy to use and allows us to achieve total resilience and reliability by storing calls locally at each site as well as remotely, archiving them to our existing storage servers.”?

Spanish communities turn to JVC Kenwood mobile control centres

JVC Kenwood Holdings, the corporation formed by JVC and Kenwood in 2008, has deployed its solutions in mobile control centres for emergency services in several Spanish communities.

The company brings together JVC’s surveillance technologies, Kenwood’s two-way radio communications technologies and the communication control room systems of Zetron. The combination of technologies and organisations means integrated solutions that combine the management of video surveillance and voice communications for control room applications can be delivered.

Mobile control centres, or silver command vehicles, are particularly suited to integrated solutions because they employ both video and voice-based services. CCTV surveillance is widely used for situation awareness but voice remains the primary form of communications for incident management, particularly where situations are time critical.

In the Spanish deployments, the vehicle-based control centres are deployed at major events or incidents to enable surveillance of the situation and co-ordination of field operations personnel. The control centres are based on six wheel, 9.5m-long trucks powered by 12 litre engines.

Each vehicle provides a crisis management room and a separate operations control room for two operators. The control room operators have access to advanced audiovisual information and communications services. Roof mounted cameras, including infra red equipment for night time visibility, provide local surveillance and telescopic mounted antennae and satellite receivers keep the centre in contact regardless of the situation.

Communications services available include radio, GSM, satellite and internet-based services via satellite and UMTS. Access to and control of the communications services is handled by Zetron’s DCS5020 consoles, which integrate the Kenwood radios and other communication services through a single screen-based user interface for each operator position.

The mobile control centres are equipped to provide the operators with access to similar services to those in a fixed control centre.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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