Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Mobile Wi-Fi equipment has now been installed in over 1,300 Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW State Emergency Service vehicles, which will ensure 4G or satellite communication access during incident responses.

The highly resilient communications technology will enable firefighters and NSW SES members to continue using radios, mobile phones and other hand-held devices anywhere and at any time, through new equipment attached to their vehicles. The technology will enhance connectivity and voice clarity, leading to greater interoperability with other emergency services and improved situational awareness during operations.

Premier of New South Wales, Chris Minns, said we must be doing everything we can to improve our emergency response.

“Whether it’s telling people to evacuate, getting latest advice and emergency communications through to communities who may be cut off – this new equipment is crucial to that work.”

“That is why we are providing our first responders with technology they can rely on to overcome connectivity challenges.”

“These new systems are an important step forward in adapting our response to disasters and emergencies and supporting our combat agencies to provide help faster, where and when it’s needed.”

The ‘vehicle as a node’ systems will allow crews to connect to satellites when there is no land-based 4G or radio connectivity. This will mean that if the communications infrastructure is damaged in a disaster, they will still be able to stay in contact.

Emergency Services Minister, Jihad Dib, said the technology provides better support and protection for our frontline firefighters and SES crews.

“Communications blackspots have long been a challenge for first response agencies and can seriously hamper efforts to respond in emergencies and disasters.”

“Since March, more than 400 SES vehicles have installed these new systems, and we have now completed the fit-out to more than 900 Fire and Rescue NSW vehicles.”

Now that the system has been installed, work will commence on enabling Fire and Rescue NSW vehicles to be used as ‘mobile Wi-Fi hubs’, allowing for mobile phone and live video streaming connectivity for first responders. Video streaming allows emergency services to share live footage from the incident, heightening situational awareness for ground crews.

NSW SES Commissioner, Carlene York, said the technology increases communication coverage across the state and will be a great boost in regional areas where coverage is limited.

“When the mobile broadband connection or public safety network has an outage, our vehicles can now switch to satellite connectivity with ease to keep members in the field in communication with each other and with the State Operations Centre.”

The technology is now standardised for any new vehicle acquired by Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW SES across the state.

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