Emergency services unit fires up IP

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service has rolled out an IP-based mobile command centre for incident management, which is an upgraded version of the mobile post already used in its fleet.

The mobile command centre can be kitted out in the back of a standard command vehicle, or in several station wagons allowing fire officers to access and share front-line reports, incident plans, maps and real-time weather reports.

The system was first deployed in October 2004. Since then it has been upgraded to handle multiple calls, video and data.

Nicholas Moss, ICT business development manager for the Queensland Department of Emergency Services, said the initial benefits of using IP communications for a mobile command centre are a reduced cache to transport and simplified deployment.

"It is now more akin to installing an end device at home rather than having to install a whole Private Branch Exchange system," Moss said.

Wayne Waltisbuhl, district inspector for the Queensland Fire and Rescue Services, said field crews are relied on in emergencies for on-the-spot, accurate information on weather conditions, fire behaviour and fuel loadings and the IP-based system helps them to communicate quickly.

The mobile command centre, installed by Dimension Data, includes a Cisco 1760 Gateway, a Cisco Aironet 1200 wireless Access Point, Cisco 3560 power over Ethernet switch and several Cisco 7960 IP phones with satellite capabilities and network links to Department of Emergency Services headquarters outside Brisbane.

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