Fire and rescue crews in Northern Ireland are using a new wireless communications technology from Verint Systems to fight fires more effectively and with less risk to their officers by relaying live video of the event back to a central command and control room.
Working alongside Verint partner, 802 Global, Verint's technology is at the heart of a new rapid deploy mesh network, a communications solution for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) that can be quickly and easily implemented in the field within five minutes of the vehicle becoming operational.
Images from rugged PTZ cameras mounted onto a command vehicle, tripod units, or aerial ladder platforms (ALPs) can be viewed locally or transmitted securely to headquarters or other "Gold" locations where senior commanders can provide strategic support to the commander on the incident ground.
Use of this technology on ALPs and command support units (CSUs) has proved especially effective in that they can relay both thermal and optical images, looking down on a scene to identify “hot spots” or hazards such a building integrity failure, gas cylinders in need of priority attention, or to identify people who may sill be trapped inside a burning building.
The second of four mobile CSUs are now operational with this enhanced technology. Robin Bigger, an Assistant Group Commander with NIFRS who leads the CSU project, said, "The service are continuing to exploit this exciting technology which is enabling an enhanced level of situational awareness for incident commanders who are supported via command units in such a way as to maximize efficient use of resources at the incident and overview the safety of firefighters being deployed.
"The equipment is being used alongside our existing investment in equipment onboard command support units and aerial ladder platforms and by using satellite communications we are able to broadcast incident ground information to our headquarters command suite not only from towns and cities but from the remotest part of the province," Bigger said.