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Meeting Fire and Rescue Service Technology Requirements with a Configurable Approach

5 min read

Saab offers the Fire Services a new approach to the provision of Control Room Systems through an innovative Configuration Framework

Article by Alan Hall – Saab Fire Account Director

Fire Services, alike many businesses and emergency services, are faced with the challenge of how best to adopt and implement new technologies within the control room and operational environments.

Today, with smarter and more efficient digital platforms involving; Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet Of Things (IoT), Cloud solutions, social media and mobile technology the fire services need to embrace greater levels of support from industry. Saab are not only developing solutions and applications but are focused on providing support to assist with technology adoption to ensure that the benefits of new digital systems are fully exploited. Cloud solutions offer an enterprise-wide delivery platform providing a holistic opportunity to efficiently consolidate not only traditional server environments but data storage, administrative tools, human resourcing, which can offer significant reductions in the cost of ownership. That said, fire services still require resilient and secure solutions that need to meet performance and availability criteria, combined with a service model that supports integration of radio, telephony, mobile and incident ground solutions.

Fire service information technology requirements are complex and provide one of the most challenging public safety solutions to deliver and implement. Whilst many aspects of control room activity within the Emergency Services conform to conventional call handling practices, there are significant differences specific to the Fire Service during incident handling and resource mobilisation phases. With fire services now embarking on the implementation of next-generation control room solutions recent procurement notices are increasingly more heavily focused on technology adoption. A broad range of 3rd party systems and technologies are being requested ranging from social media, body worn video, mobile location, ESN radio, duty management and rostering, dynamic cover tools, back office analytics and reporting modules.

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Fire services now also require a more intuitive mobilising response plan. Following the move to dynamic response plans, which stemmed from the latest Fire Control requirements, further development has seen attributes, skills, equipment and roles all now built into the plan. These plans also need to be cognisant of resource availability; such that up to the minute crew and officer availability need to be dynamically and seamlessly linked into the control room environment. Many FRS are now also utilising in house or 3rd party dynamic cover models which not only provide a historical view of incident activity but can also be modelled into a predictive cover plan providing a dynamic view of resource utilisation and cover in high risk areas.

Saab’s SAFE Solution embraces evolving Fire service requirements

Saab recognises the complexities and demands of fire services while adopting, maintaining and exploiting these new technologies. All the while we ensure that the equally important task of providing support for the lifetime of the contract. To support these challenges Saab offers a unique Configuration Framework “SAFE”.  We provide services with a peerless solution, not only providing a Unified Command and Control Solution but a platform that is established on the ESN transition programme that also facilitates technology adoption without the need for complex re-engineering or development. SAFE is a scalable and customisable next generation control room solution which combines efficient workflows and necessary tools to help clients develop new approaches, facilitate integration and improve the delivery of new technologies.

At the heart, SAFE is a powerful rule engine and user interface design tool that can be configured to perfectly match a customer’s ideal working practises by tailoring the way the solution functions and operates for individual operator roles.  The solution offers a fully integrated solution for information sharing, decision support, workflow, resource management and voice and data communications – all in one common interface.

Designed to be a modern open integration platform, SAFE comes with a large variety of one-way and two-way interfaces that can be used to integrate legacy, current or future systems.   Saab interfaces use open standards and are extensively documented, and are implemented through a SDK (Software Developers Kit) or an API (Application Programming Interface) to allow for swift and transparent integration with 3rd party systems or databases either by customers, their partners or by Saab.  SAFE’s open architecture and outstanding integration capabilities allow Fire and Rescue Services to integrate legacy systems while also being open to easily connect to software without the traditional vendor lock in, ensuring FRS’s can adopt technology at a pace that meets their needs not the suppliers.

Saab’s approach has been well received and remains unique within the sector.  Our success with Police and transport agencies places us in a unique position to support others agencies with their next generation Command, Control and Communications requirements.

Alan Hall – Saab’s Fire Account Director joined in the summer of 2021 and has been working with a number of Fire Services to configure and tailor the solution to meet Service operational working practices. 

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