The state of Cataluña Mobile Civil Emergency Response Centre, a specially equipped vehicle whose technology includes Zetron DCS-5020 Digital Consoles, has been in action in north eastern Spain to help tackle forest fires.
Wild fires broke out in the rural area south of the town of Rasquera following a period of drought and unusually high temperatures. Fanned by high winds, it was only extinguished after three days of round the clock activity by 60 fire fighting and civil defence teams supported by aircraft dropping water on the flames. In that time, the blaze scorched more than 3,000 hectares of scrubland and pine forest and forced 52 people from their homes.
During the emergency operators used the Zetron system to coordinate the safe movement of people while continuing to direct the fire fighters and aircraft as they tackled the fire. The Zetron system enables operators to manage up to 30 different radio and telephone channels through a touch-screen display.
The Cataluña emergency response vehicle is one of 12 across Spain equipped with the Zetron communications control systems, all under a multi-million Euro contract won by Kenwood Iberica. Each vehicle is on permanent standby, ready to play a crucial role should any of the country’s regional governments have to respond to a civil emergency or disaster of any type.
Rosa Mata i Frances, chief of logistic and territorial services for Cataluña, said: ‘The solution configured by Kenwood in our emergency vehicle has proved itself a number of times, the latest incident being the Rasquera wildfire. Multiple agencies were involved, but the Zetron control consoles enabled our operators to act as communications coordinators, ensuring that ground and air resources were not wasted, and that we achieved the swift and efficient removal of residents to a place of safety.
‘In our debrief following the fire, our operators again commented on how the Zetron system is intuitive and easy to use, enabling them to maintain clear and concise communications even when under pressure.’
Kenwood’s role as lead contractor in the Spanish civil emergency vehicles programme was to provide the radio and control technology for each vehicle and to project manage the fit-outs.
‘Many of the regions specified very similar communications links, typically VHF private mobile radio, coupled with GSM and wireline telephony,’ said Ramon Anguera, commercial director, Kenwood Iberica. ‘Cataluña’s vehicle is the most complex with five DCS-5020s, handling a mix of marine, satellite, TETRA and HF radio, as well as VHF analogue and mobile and fixed telephony.
‘Across the entire fleet of 12 vehicles we installed 50 DCS-5020 consoles, and the feedback we’ve been getting from the civil defence operators has been very positive. In particular, they like the simple and very clear way in which the Zetron console system presents information to them. Under the pressure of dealing efficiently with an emergency, it’s one less thing for them to worry about,’ said Anguera.
Zetron’s DCS-5020 Digital Console is deployed in public safety, transportation and utilities control rooms, but as the Spanish deployments show, it is also at-home in mobile applications.
It enables small- to medium-sized operations control rooms to combine telephony with both digital and analogue radio control, supporting combinations of up to 30 resources including up to 16 screen-based operator consoles. Distributed processing gives the DCS-5020 flexibility, scalability and robustness, delivering the high degree of resilience required for mission-critical 24/7 applications.