A new report from the UK’s Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) identifies the challenges Fire & Rescues Services (FRSs) face ahead of meeting budgetary efficiencies and the changing landscape of critical communications.
The report (FRSs in England – Planning for an Uncertain Future) highlights the need to take a detailed review of future service requirements to ensure both coverage and resilience for all the emergency services, currently provided by the TETRA Airwave Network, are maintained at an agreed level.
The communication requirements of FRSs are increasingly moving towards data traffic, to ensure that mobilised resources have a clear view of the risks and challenges that they will face when attending an incident.
For example, using technologies such as telemetry, used alongside in-building location monitoring at locations that are known risks, fire fighters can place radio frequency identification (RFID) tags across building locations. These intelligent tags can then track the location of fire fighters inside the building during an incident and map their location to key assets and known risks, helping the team to monitor their safety.
According to Euros Evans, chief technology officer at Airwave, said: “We are committed to working with FRSs to ensure they have the best possible service to keep them – and the public – safe. We are working with our customers on solutions that will provide enhanced protection.”
Airwave has also been working with CFOA to explore how video streaming technology could support a more efficient and effective response. This would lead to enhanced incident management and improved safety of fire fighters.
“It is important that the emergency services engage fully with the future communications programmes. To that end, we will continue to work with our suppliers to achieve more with the existing critical communication capabilities, while exploring how to most efficiently leverage the technology of tomorrow,” said Dave Webb, CFOA lead on operational communications.