Technology a vital tool for firefighters on the frontline
Firehoses and ladders are essential equipment for firefighters but today, you are also likely to see them with a rugged tablet in hand as technology becomes a vital tool for fire and rescue services.
written by Will Holmes, Business Manager for Public Sector (Fire, Ambulance & Central Government)
Like many young children, I dreamt of growing up to be a firefighter. It seemed an exciting world and the fearlessness of youth cast my mind aside from any of the dangers. Back then I imagined the appliances screeching to halt and the water pipes and ladders being deployed. However, the landscape is changing, and you are increasingly likely to see a firefighter brandishing a rugged tablet alongside their traditional firefighting equipment as technology becomes a vital tool on the frontline.
One service leading the way is Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), one of the largest Fire and Rescue Services outside London with over 1,637 firefighters and 41 fire stations.
When the service was looking to upgrade its Mobile Data Terminals (MDT), it chose 143 Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 33 devices for the front and back of the appliances, using 3tc’s MODAS Professional software to ensure effective communication between control and the vehicles on the move. But as well as a modern MDT, approved for use with the new Emergency Services Network, GMFRS was also keen to equip a rugged mobile computing device in the rear of 53 of its appliances with 4G connectivity.
"We wanted the same capabilities as an office on wheels. The most important criteria were that the devices in the front and rear of the appliances would have the same user interface and access to the same information, but the rear device would be demountable to use outside of the vehicle."
"The combination and close integration of the 3tc MODAS software suite with the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK device provides a powerful tool for fire services like Greater Manchester. As well as the MDT, it allows officers outside of the vehicle to have access to the information they need at their fingertips to deal with any situation – using technology to become ever more efficient and effective. The solution has the flexibility to add more applications as needed but always with the peace of mind of the highest levels of security and availability."
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