West Sussex Fire and Rescue ‘go live’ with managed service

Infographics report on the successful ‘go live’ of the FireWatch Cloud platform and managed service at West Sussex Fire and Rescue

The new FireWatch Cloud solution, underpinned by Microsoft Azure, provides flexible access to FireWatch from any location, a highly resilient fault-tolerant architecture and a Software as a Service delivery model.

The next stage of the project is deployment of the live integration with the Capita Vision joint mobilisation solution and control platform now shared by Surrey and West Sussex Fire and Rescue.

Infographics hopes to announce the go-live of this next phase shortly, once final testing is complete. This latest project follows other FireWatch clients already successfully going live with their own mobilisation system interfaces.

The wider FireWatch Cloud project includes Surrey Fire and Rescue. They too will migrate and go live on the same shared Cloud platform and Capita Vision mobilisation interface in a subsequent phase.

The FireWatch Cloud solution includes a connected application for fire service management, with:

  • Real-time integrated HR, payments, training and development, fleet and availability
  • Employee self-service from a single connected location and data across areas detailed above
  • Vehicle-level availability status based on resource needs and priority – calculated to-the-minute
  • Graphical county-wide availability map status and change notifications of the same data
  • Mobile-optimised client and apps, including booking on/off facility and real-time status views
  • SMS-based workflows and booking on/off duty processes with crewing exception notifications for managers.


Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said: “We are delighted to announce further new clients going live with our FireWatch Cloud offering and deploying our standard Mobilisation interfaces. Over the coming months, we are helping many other fire and rescue services follow the same path and hope to make further announcements in due course.”

For more about FireWatch and Prevent + Protect, visit: www.firewatch.co.uk

For more about Infographics, visit: www.infographics.co.uk



Successful final demonstration in Poland and The Netherlands

The final demonstration held by the DRIVER+ project in Warsaw, with additional remote input and participation from The Hague, has achieved all its key goals

The three-day event saw players representing the different components of the European Civil Protection Mechanism featuring firefighting module teams from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, The Netherlands and Austria. Emergency Response Coordination Centre and EU Civil Protection Teams simulated the deployment and use of firefighting teams and assets from the donor countries to a fictional country – ‘Driverstan’ – where persistent wildfires had overwhelmed local resources and at one stage also threatened a refugee camp, requiring an orderly evacuation.

All the issues associated with the movement of teams across borders were ‘played’ with high degrees of realism, along with the gathering and integrating of up-to-date fire imagery, terrain and other data required to support firefighting teams and commanders both on the ground and in off-site command centres.

The objective was to evaluate the various technological solutions for creating and sharing across agencies and borders a dynamically updated Common Operational Picture (COP) using the project’s Trial Guidance Methodology. Delivering such a COP is the key to efficient, successful crisis management because it optimises the effectiveness of the limited resources available.

The solutions used by the various crisis management teams were: Socrates OC from GMV, vieWTerra Evolution from VWORLD, CrisisSuite from Merlin Software, Drone Rapid Mapping from Creotech Instruments and the Field Reporting Tool developed by the European Commission Joint Research Centre. Each of these solutions was integrated using the DRIVER+ Test-bed Technical Infrastructure and independently assessed by observers and participants.

The final demonstration event represents the culmination of several years of conducting trials, intense research and best practice development by the different partners of the pan-European, EU-funded DRIVER+ project.

The main organiser and the leader of the preparation process of the final demonstration was the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences, supported by the Main School of Fire Service in Warsaw. The event took place in three different locations simultaneously: The Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Main School of Fire Service, both in Warsaw, and the Safety Region Haaglanden in The Hague.

DRIVER+ is a pan-European project designed to build Europe’s resilience to climate-related crisis situations, such as wildfires and flooding, as well as to other threats such as earthquakes, industrial accidents and terrorism. A key focus is helping crisis management organisations evaluate and select the best technological solutions for supporting enhanced emergency management, based on clear, objective criteria using the Trial Guidance Methodology. Drones, advanced crisis management solutions and cross-border cooperation all featured strongly in the final demonstration and evaluation.



FLIR introduces its most affordable thermal imaging camera for first responders

FLIR K1 gives first responders the power to see heat in total darkness and through smoke

The new FLIR K1 handheld thermal imaging camera is FLIR’s most affordable camera for first responder officers and fire investigators. The FLIR K1 detects heat and provides visibility through smoke and in total darkness to enhance situational awareness for use in wildland fire control, search and rescue missions, structure damage evaluation, and investigative work.

“FLIR is committed to providing first responders with lifesaving technology and solutions that help them keep their communities safe,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR Systems. “At a more affordable price, the FLIR K1 will allow more emergency service professionals to adopt the power of thermal imaging and ensure a safer mission.”

The dual sensor FLIR K1 is powered by the FLIR Lepton® thermal microcamera, FLIR’s smallest and lowest cost thermal camera core. The K1 uses FLIR’s patented MSX® technology, which extracts high-contrast details from the images taken by an onboard visible light camera and superimposes them onto the thermal images. The FLIR K1 simultaneously captures thermal and visible images of a scene and stores up to 10,000 image sets to create post-scene reports, analysis and evidence.

A pistol grip design allows users to view the scene from their line of sight for improved safety and situational awareness. The spot thermometer easily identifies unseen hot and cold spots for instant troubleshooting. The FLIR K1 carries an IP67 rating for water resistance, heat resistance up to 115°C, and can withstand a two-metre drop onto concrete. An integrated, rechargeable battery lasts up to five hours on a single charge, and it also includes a 300-lumen flashlight that lends additional visibility of a scene.

To learn more about the FLIR K1, please visit www.flir.co.uk/products/k1



New £5m training facilities for MOD firefighters at the Fire Service College

Capita report on a turf-cutting ceremony at its Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh to mark the start of construction of new training facilities for MOD firefighters and personnel

The £5m investment will play a key part in Capita’s 12-year Defence Fire and Rescue Project to manage and modernise the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) fire and rescue capability. The facilities, being built by construction firm Beard, will enable the College to provide state-of-the-art firefighter training, such as aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) on several different simulated airframes, along with a wide range of other firefighting scenarios. Other new facilities include an accommodation block for trainees and an additional fire station. It is expected construction will conclude in autumn 2020, when the first cohort of MOD firefighters begin training at the College.

Pictured at the ceremony: Alistair Johnstone, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Defence Fire and Rescue; Andy Start, CEO, Capita Government Services; Group Captain Lee Taylor, Air Command; Mike Cooper, MOD Director for Children and Young People; Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds; Jason Clay, Managing Director for Capita Fire and Rescue

Capita’s contract with the MOD commenced in August 2019 and over the next 12 years the company will invest in new technology, fire appliances and equipment to develop a modernised fire and rescue service that will also harness digital technology to reduce risk to the MOD’s firefighters, personnel and assets. New vehicles for this contract are being provided by Angloco, Terberg and Oskosh.

The Fire Service College, a Capita owned and operated facility, is one of the premier global fire and rescue training facilities. It provides learners with the opportunity to train and exercise in a realistic and challenging environment with direction and supervision from expert instructors. From 2021, approximately 1,700 military and civilian firefighters will be trained each year at the college or by instructors from the college at military bases around the UK.

The turf-cutting ceremony was attended by dignitaries including Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds; Mike Cooper, MOD Director for Children and Young People; Group Captain Lee Taylor 11 Group Senior Air Staff Officer; Jason Clay, Managing Director for Capita Fire and Rescue and Marc Bayley, Regional Director at Beard.

Clay said: “This marks an exciting new chapter for the Fire Service College and the Ministry of Defence’s fire and rescue capability. Our £5m investment in state-of-the-art training and accommodation facilities at Moreton-in-Marsh is a key part of our 12-year contract to manage and modernise the department’s fire service.

“Over the course of our multi-year transformation programme we will work with the Ministry of Defence to deliver an exciting range of technology-enabled modernisation initiatives that improve service capability and reduce risk to firefighters, Defence personnel and the critical assets they operate.”

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown added: “This is fantastic news for the Fire College as it will see significant improvements, provide many much-needed jobs locally, and will see local builder Beard building a new accommodation block. I look forward to observing the progress of the contract and was honoured to be a part of the turf-cutting.”

Bayley said: “It is important that the college has the capacity and amenities to keep pace with demand. This is an important first stage in providing more accommodation and better training facilities. We are looking forward to marking other milestones along the way.”

For more information go to www.capita.com



Improvement works framework announced

Procurement organisation and social enterprise Fusion21 has announced the suppliers successfully appointed to its national Improvement Works Framework – worth up to £250m over a four-year period

A total of sixty-six highly skilled firms, including more than 80 per cent SMEs, have secured a place on the framework which has been developed to support all public sector organisations – including police, ambulance and fire and rescue services – to deliver planned component and building improvement works.

The framework offers a range of internal and external improvement works from the installation of fire doors to communal entrance doors, roofing, electrical works and kitchens and bathrooms. Fusion21 members will also have the option to commission multi-trade internal and external works suited to combined programmes or smaller scale projects.

Peter Francis, Director of Operations at Fusion21, said: “Having responded to member and market demand we have developed a compliant procurement solution which offers our members increased opportunities to collaborate with SMEs, whilst also benefiting from flexible call-off processes, greater efficiency savings and the ability to generate social value outcomes that are tailored to organisational priorities.




Fire service aligns safety and savings as workshop investment pays off

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has announced major savings, improved vehicle handling and a significant reduction in carbon emissions since installing the latest Josam wheel-alignment equipment from UK distributor, Automotive Equipment Solutions (AES)

The fire service opted for the latest Josam Cam-Aligner so that the 120 vehicles in their service and rescue fleet could be regularly checked for correct wheel-alignment and steering geometry.

Fleet Manager, Nigel Leppard, explained: “Our front-line firefighting appliances – all of which are heavy goods vehicles – and our blue light response light vehicles are often driven at high speeds when responding to a 999 emergency. As such, we must pay special attention to tyres, brakes and steering and this is where the Josam equipment plays its part.”

The compact Cam-Aligner system enables the fire service to quickly and accurately check wheel angles such as toe, camber, steering box middle and axle offset, all of which is measured using Josam’s patented camera technology, using the chassis centre line as a point of reference.

Acting Workshop Manager, Adam Fowles, explained further: “After AES took us through the basic on-site training, we found the Cam-Aligner quite simple to operate. It only takes about 20 minutes to carry out a routine inspection for each vehicle during its annual MOT, at which time any corrective adjustments can be made.

Plus, if we need any ongoing advice the AES support team are immediately to hand, and most times will sort things remotely, which is reassuring given the permanent state of readiness which our vehicles must maintain.”

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service runs a mixed fleet of 33 front-line HGV appliances, nine special appliances, including aerial platforms and 73 blue light non-HGVS. “Each of which” added Fowles, “will handle better at high and low speeds, with the added benefit of saving on tyres, fuel and vehicle down-time.”

Fowles added that any misalignments are easily adjusted, and the work detail is all recorded for later reference or auditing purposes.

Leppard added: “Not only do we maintain a high level of safety and compliance, but also in the first five years we expect to achieve vehicle and labour cost savings amounting to approximately 4.5 times our capital outlay – with an initial return on investment in just 15 months.”

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue also forecasts significant fuel savings which, says the service, given that each litre of diesel consumed produces 2.68 kgs of CO2, equates to a reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 72 tons per year. Leppard said this will go a long way to help Gloucestershire County Council in its commitment to reduce carbon emissions in the county.

“Carrying out this type of essential alignment work lessens the threat of going over budget by keeping down costs,” said Leppard. “Furthermore, it reduces the threat of emergency vehicles being out of service and ensures that we meet our legal obligation to VOSA by maintaining a legally compliant and safe fleet.”



Fire Safety Register launch new first of its kind competency scheme

BAFE report on launching a new scheme to assess the competency of dry riser/wet riser service and maintenance providers

With over 12 months in development including a public consultation, BAFE has worked with industry experts to establish robust criteria to assess and determine evidence of a provider’s competency to deliver maintenance of dry and wet risers/falling installations.

The BAFE Competency of Organizations for the Service and Maintenance of Dry and Wet Riser/Falling Installations (SP105) Scheme is the first of its kind to assess competency to deliver this service. Chris Auger, Head of Schemes – BAFE, said: “It’s crucial that BAFE represent the best levels of quality for the fire safety industry to achieve. There are possibly thousands of dry and wet riser installations nationwide and we acted on the fact that a method of determining a provider’s competency to deliver this important service was required. I am very happy to say we have delivered this to the industry, and I am confident this is a crucial step forward in the current climate of fire safety competence.”

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive, BAFE, added: “BAFE continues its commitment in developing and maintaining our competency schemes in support of the Responsible Person [Duty Holder/end users] and specifiers of fire safety services. The new SP105 Scheme demonstrates this, offering a way to easily source an evidentially competent provider for wet and dry riser maintenance – an area I’m honestly surprised the industry has not demanded until now.”

More information on the BAFE Competency of Organizations for the Service & Maintenance of Dry and Wet Riser/Falling Installations (SP105) Scheme can be found on the BAFE website: http://bit.ly/BAFESP105