New ESN to transform Emergency Services’ mobile working
The new Emergency Services Network promises to transform emergency services’ mobile working across Great Britain, especially in remote areas and at times of network congestion. Will Holmes, Emergency Services Corporate Sales Manager for Panasonic TOUGHBOOK looks at how it will create a single platform for sharing data and imagery and enable faster adoption of successful mobile applications.
The Home Office is leading a pan departmental, cross government programme to deliver the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) critical communications system. The aim is to deliver a much better voice and data service to the emergency services. This will replace the current Tetra Network used by the emergency services in Great Britain.
Customers for the ESN include the police, fire and rescue, and ambulance services as well as a range of other users stretching from local authorities and utility services to first responders like inshore rescue. There are 300,000 frontline emergency service users who will depend on ESN, using handheld devices or operating equipment in 50,000 vehicles, 115 aircraft and 200 control rooms.
ESN will transform emergency services’ mobile working, especially in remote areas and at times of network congestion. It will create a single platform for sharing data and imagery and enable faster adoption of successful mobile applications.
Traditionally the network was used for communications from the front cabs of emergency vehicles via connected Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs). But rugged devices working via the new ESN can support teams in a range of additional data-driven applications when away from the vehicles. These include assisting fire crews with detailed schematics of vehicles to help rescue trapped people or to quickly access safety data on chemicals or potentially harmful materials stored at a call-out site. The rugged mobile devices can also be used in combination with the ESN and a wide range of emerging new technology, including being body worn, viewing images from drones, thermal imaging and 360° cameras.
Panasonic recently announced that the TOUGHBOOK 33 rugged notebook is the first Microsoft Windows device to be authorised for use on the new Emergency Services Network (ESN). The accreditation means that the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 2-in-1 detachable device, already popular with emergency services across the country, can now be used by all emergency service personnel on the new network.
Panasonic also worked closely with the device’s modem manufacturer and the ESN test team to ensure that existing TOUGHBOOK 33 devices, already in use by the emergency services, can be easily upgraded at no additional cost.
Many emergency service organisations are already gearing up to take advantage of the new network. The deployment of more than 200 Panasonic rugged TOUGHBOOK tablets is transforming the working lives of firefighters at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) by providing access to vital information at the scene of an emergency.
The service has deployed the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 33 tablets in the front cabs of its fire appliances as Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) and in the rear of the vehicles as mobile, demountable devices to accompany firefighters when they leave the vehicles.
Working closely with Panasonic and its partners, the DWFRS has designed a solution fit for the future. Permanently mounted in the front of the vehicle, the Panasonic tablet is the ideal MDT for the modern UK fire service. The devices are used for providing vital information on the way to an incident, such as sending status updates to command and control centres, risk assessment requirements, details on the occupancy of the premises and nearby hydrant locations.
The demountable devices, in the back of appliances, can be used to assist fire crews with detailed schematics of vehicles to help them rescue trapped people, safety data on any chemicals stored on site and other risk-based information.
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