LFBLondon Fire Brigade has further improved its response to emergencies in residential high rise blocks by introducing an electronic-premises information plates system to all fire engines.

The virtual plates are provided via the appliances’ mobile data terminals (MDTs) and the move follows a trial undertaken by the Brigade last year which saw physical premises information plates fitted to over 160 tower blocks in ten London boroughs.

The plates were introduced to help London’s crews quickly identify crucial information about the building they’ve been called to and assist them when they first arrive at the scene when a fire has broken out. Information on the original trial plates included the number of floors and height of the building, the number and location of staircases, the position of fire hydrants and the number and location of dry risers.

LFB Director of Operations Dave Brown said: “We are continually looking to improve our response to emergencies in residential high rise buildings and the premises information plates help our crews to quickly identify crucial information about the building they’ve been called to, which in turn helps keep them safe and assists them in bringing fires under control more quickly. Less fire damage will reduce the impact that an incident has on residents and local communities, as well as the cost of damage repairs for housing providers.

“Our original trial with physical plates in 2014 was extremely well received by both crews and housing providers, but the development of the electronic plates has allowed us to take things one step further. Our operational officers and the Brigade’s Information Communication Technology Team have worked together to develop a ‘drag & drop’ type software which enables crews to input, create and update the ‘virtual’ plates on our mobile data terminals."

Feedback received from firefighters involved in the trial was extremely positive and following an evaluation it was agreed earlier this year that, instead of a roll-out of physical plates, electronic images, or virtual plates, with improved layout and design, would be provided to crews via MDTs.

This has allowed for a number of additional improvements to be made including:
· improved icons
· a single plan view allowing improved detail and visibility
· additional information of sprinklers, non ‘fire’ lifts, legend for flats and location of fire lifts
· the inclusion of roads to provide improved orientation
· improved detail regarding location of hydrants
· replacing information on the height of building with dimensions to assist formulation of the first informative message.