Northumberland gives maximum situational awareness for firefighters

Dräger reports on Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service investing in the new PSS® AirBoss SCBA

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NRFS) has become the first UK fire service to invest in Dräger’s new AirBoss Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) with telemetry, as it looks to provide its firefighters with the most advanced fire safety equipment on the market today.

The Northumberland team has chosen the PSS® AirBoss Connect, providing maximum situational awareness for the firefighter. Dräger provides the only operationally proven telemetry solution in the UK which is compliant with relevant British Standards for telemetry, delivering vital information which is automatically communicated between the wearer of the BA set and the Entry Control Point.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has also invested in Dräger’s SCBA cleaning system for cleaning breathing apparatus facemasks, that protects emergency responders from the effects of contaminants. All equipment is supported by a full service and maintenance provision.

Northumberland’s SCBA and telemetry equipment investment benefits from being able to utilise an upgrade path of existing equipment, which takes advantage of the already-embedded telemetry. The contract will therefore deliver real savings of over 25 per cent when compared to a complete system replacement. These savings have been realised in a time when efficiencies and value for money are paramount for our public services while also delivering the most advanced BA safety technology for firefighters.

CFO Paul Hedley says the investment has been driven by safety, scalability, reliability and value for money: “We do everything we can to provide our employees the highest levels of protection, and this investment will also further enhance our ability to make the communities of Northumberland safer. This means better protecting firefighters from the contaminants their SCBA are exposed to, and it therefore was logical to invest in Dräger-approved systems which will ensure effective and deep cleaning of equipment.

“Moreover, this kit is both backwards and future compatible, meaning it can be integrated with our existing equipment that is still operational, giving us the option to upgrade more advanced elements of the technology over time as they develop.”

Dräger will continue to work as a strong partner of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service to develop joint community initiatives across the county and will provide beneficiary and financial support where possible, supporting Northumberland in their delivery of the Prince’s Trust Programme, Young Firefighters Association, youth engagement initiatives as well as providing support for under-represented and disadvantaged groups.

Dräger equipment is also British built, which Paul Hedley says provides a high level of assurance in the face of global supply chain issues: “With Dräger’s Global Centre of Excellence in our neighbouring Blyth, our supply of equipment is both local and secure, providing assurances to us as a service, as well as boosting the local and national economy.”

Matthew Bedford, Managing Director of Dräger Safety UK, says Dräger works in genuine partnership with NFRS: “Our relationship with the service goes back more than 30 years, and we are proud to meet its desire to provide the latest, most innovative technologies that promote the health and wellbeing of its firefighters.”

Liz Millward, Marketing Manager at Dräger Safety UK, says the new AirBoss provides the utmost in usability, safety+, serviceability, and connectivity: “The kit includes the new and innovative core AirBoss features such as a carrying system with pneumatics, monitoring systems, masks and communication technologies and numerous accessories including a Quick Connect system for rapid connection and disconnection of cylinders.”

Supporting flexible ways of working

Infographics reports on Surrey Fire and Rescue Service migrating to FireWatch solutions that target greater agility, increase visibility of resources and support flexible ways of working

Infographics is pleased to announce a joint project with Surrey Fire and Rescue Service to deliver a programme of technology innovation. The project will focus on providing anytime, anywhere access for its service users, including their ‘on-call’ firefighters and managers, increasing real-time visibility of availability and resources, and integrating live data with the control room.

The programme includes deploying the FireWatch Mobile App; a migration from a previous legacy system to the FireWatch fire service management suite for managing on-call availability; and – as part of that – the deployment of the FireWatch Mobilisation Interface within Surrey’s shared county emergency control room and Capita Vision mobilisation system.

Head of Data, Digital and Special Projects at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Sally Wilson, said: “Ensuring that we have advanced, flexible and accurate technology is key for our service. We have worked closely with Infographics to ensure that FireWatch is exactly what we need to increase visibility of available resources and people to keep residents safe.”

FireWatch Mobile allows users to directly manage data and tasks for time/availability, leave, skills, training and assets via smart devices. It also enables supervisors and team members to understand the impact of resource changes and to manage and act on any issues or deadlines highlighted within their personalised key performance indicators displayed on screen. This includes workflow-driven resource request and fulfilment processes to address gaps in cover.

Migrating to FireWatch for on-call availability will allow Surrey Fire and Rescue Service to see a complete picture of availability across wholetime and on-call staff – increasing visibility and efficiency across the employee planning and management process. The App can also deliver benefits for the service, offering a flexible self-service capability for all contract types and staff.

The deployment of the FireWatch Mobilisation Interface will ensure an accurate view of real-time availability, skills and asset status across the service which is directly integrated with emergency dispatch operations within the control room.

Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said: “We are looking forward to working with Surrey Fire and Rescue on their project, which will deliver to the end users a major step forward in their user experience versus their current on call availability platform, as well as wider, flexible self-service capabilities and live integrated resource information within control.”

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Exciting network refresh for Hereford and Worcester

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service reports on a major step forward with its network capacity thanks to an exciting technology refresh, under its renewed half million-plus contract for managed network services with MLL Telecom

The refresh will include the provision of services based on a software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) with the aim of boosting bandwidth, security and resilience. It will support the HQ at Hindlip Hall outside Worcester as well as the service’s 25 fire stations.

The contract will run for at least three years, with a value of £550,000 with an option to extend for two more adding another £300,000. The solution Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) have chosen provides flexible connectivity to support known – and unknown – future changes in digital technologies/requirements.

Pete Chatwin, HWFRS Head of IT, said: “The technology refresh of our existing fibre network will ensure we continue to have access to fast, reliable and secure WAN and internet communications. Our network, and the digital services it provides, is of paramount importance to our efficient operation and the safety of the public.

“We’re totally confident in the technology we have chosen to deploy while leaving the responsibility for managing the new SD-WAN in MLL’s capable hands.”

Ross Billington, Strategic Client Director at MLL Telecom, added: “At MLL, we could tell the HWFRS Technology team had a very clear vision of what they wanted to achieve which we’re confident we can provide.

“We’re excited to work with HWFRS supporting them in rolling out the latest connectivity technology, providing critical emergency services with increased management visibility and control, as well as resiliency, availability and bandwidth.”

MLL has been the network services provider to HWFRS since 2017. It also provides WAN and internet services to other public sector organisations in the region, including the councils.