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Keeping Emergency Services Teams Secure And Connected
Keeping Emergency Services Teams Secure And Connected

Every day, across the globe, emergency services teams come to people’s aid no matter the situation to ensure their safety. Whether it’s during a natural disaster, or at a significant event, the emergency services are on hand to face any challenge that comes their way. When supporting this crucial workforce, it is essential that they have robust and reliable connectivity. Technology is becoming a vital aspect of public safety and security worldwide, and this trend is only likely to grow. For these new devices to work effectively, full-scale coverage must be in place, and when it comes to people’s safety, there is no room for error. The need for redundancy and high bandwidth  Two of the paramount tools at emergency services disposal are video surveillance and communication devices. Constant visibility and communication are often essential to protecting people and saving lives. The benefits range from providing first responders with a clear picture and understanding of the situation they are about to encounter; to providing greater safety during public events by enabling officers to control crowds and manage traffic effectively. Enhancing visibility and sharing information is particularly crucial during fires to guide firefighters and vehicles through flames and smoke, and to allow the central command center to organize resources effectively. Technology is becoming a vital aspect of public safety and security worldwide, and this trend is only likely to grow Despite any potential challenges ensuring network connectivity may create, public safety organizations cannot compromise when it comes to optimizing security. For IP video surveillance and cellphone broadband connectivity to operate effectively, they require redundancy and high bandwidth. Without these connectivity attributes, devices become useless; for example, there are municipalities where as much as 50 percent of the camera network is offline because of poor product choices and inferior network design and installation. Equally, poor quality networking can be just as limiting as it can lead to public safety organizations being unable to receive real-time data. All areas must also have adequate bandwidth to access data, such as on-scene video, aerial imagery, maps, and images, and many existing public safety networks do not have that capacity. Supporting security and safety robotics Robots and drones have seen a considerable increase in popularity this year, with 60 million such machines being deployed according to ABI Research. They offer a wealth of potential to emergency services teams, whether on land, air, or sea. For example, water rescue robots can go where humans cannot, earthquake and fire robots can search through otherwise non-navigable areas, and drones can survey vast regions. However, for these wireless devices to work effectively, they rely on many features. They need low power consumption so as not to heavily burden the onboard power source of the robotic device and, perhaps, a high level of encryption so information cannot be stolen or hacked. There are also benefits to security and safety as robotic devices can communicate with one another peer-to-peer. Directly mounting radios to robots and drones, fosters dynamic self-learning, data sharing, and more wireless paths in the event one or more of the devices in an area do not have a link to fixed infrastructure. Water rescue robots can go where humans cannot, earthquake and fire robots can search through otherwise non-navigable areas, and drones can survey vast regions The main component that security and safety robotics require is redundant and resilient connections. If the connection is lost, the connected device will go into “safe” mode and stop. Creating a high capacity network that supports mobile devices in complex and fast-moving environments is not a simple task. In many cases, it requires a network that supports many wireless connections and allows for many paths in and out, so that if a link is lost, another path is available for data transmission and reception. This type of network is the best way to ensure that police, firefighters, and emergency units can access and send large amounts of data from wherever they are and in real-time making a massive difference to the efficiency of the emergency services. An example of this is Rajant’s private Kinetic Mesh® network, a wireless network ensuring no single point of failure. It offers reliable, intelligent, and secure wireless broadband connectivity that survives and thrives in evolving and mobility-driven environments. It forms a “living” mesh network that can move with and adapt to the evolving communication requirements of public safety organizations. Technology in action Back in October 2019, the heat from the sun, combined with winds gusting through the foothills of El Capitán Canyon in California, sparked a bush fire in the overly dry, desert hills. Despite four hundred and twenty acres being burnt, firefighters used their experience and skills combined with newfound digital technology to ensure that no structures were damaged, and there were no reported injuries. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Cal Fire, the U.S Forest Service, and other agencies were immediately dispatched to contain the fire. More than 200 firefighters were needed to combat the fire and reinforce containment lines with helicopters and drones in the air and bulldozers on the ground. To operate this equipment, mesh radio nodes, bonded cellular, and satellite technologies were used to link the communication gap in locations where signals are often dropped. Rajant BreadCrumb® nodes were mounted to the fire-breaking, 30-ton bulldozers manned by trained firefighters to uproot vegetation and eliminate the materials that would further spread the fire. Robots and drones have seen a considerable increase in popularity this year, with 60 million such machines being deployed  The reliable connectivity allowed the bulldozers to not only easily communicate with each other and the base, but also to send video footage and data to the tactical truck and central command post over cellular and SAT networks. This situational awareness data transfer allowed for greater efficiency, as well as increased safety for the public and the firefighters. Reliability when you need it most Reliable connectivity solutions are being embraced across the emergency services due to the innumerable benefits they bring to ensuring the safety of the public. For police, firefighters, and emergency units, dependable connectivity allows for rapid, real-time response, and the use of technology can save lives in ways that wouldn’t have seemed possible a decade ago. Planned and unplanned events can benefit from the new technology being introduced, and emergency services need to make sure they have the network capabilities to support them. For environments that are challenging and hostile, this requires a network available on-demand, which can withstand the demands of harsh conditions and mobility while maintaining a level of redundancy and high bandwidth that allows for accessing and sending large amounts of data from any location.

How To Maintain Fire Safety Equipment Properly By Following Simple Steps
How To Maintain Fire Safety Equipment Properly By Following Simple Steps

Did you know an estimated 30% of smoke alarms in the UK are inoperable due to missing, flat or disconnected batteries? For a property to comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is vitally important that all fire safety equipment is kept in perfect working order at all times. This involves checking that the fire safety equipment is accessible, well maintained and hasn’t been tampered with. There are many ways you can take care of your fire safety equipment, to ensure your property is prepared, should there ever be a fire. Equipment Assessment Checks There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually If you’re the ‘responsible person’ for commercial property, you need to ensure your building meets fire safety standards. Here are 5 tips on how to properly maintain your fire safety equipment. Both passive and active fire safety equipment must be check regularly for any signs of wear or damage. There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually. There is a range of equipment checks you must carry out, including fire doors, fire alarm test, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers. Emergency lighting should be checked monthly, with all issues kept in a logbook. Fire doors should also be checked to ensure their seals and frames are in good condition.   Fire Alarm Tests All fire protection has to be checked annually including alarms, detectors, lighting, sprinklers, extinguishers and fire doors. They should be carefully inspected. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises. To check that your Fire alarms still function correctly, it is important to get them serviced. All fire alarms should be tested, maintained and inspected by a competent person who is able to carry out any remedial work. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises Fire extinguishers must be ready to work straight away in the event of a fire, so it is vital they are regularly checked and serviced. You should ensure they are maintained and kept in a functional condition. Every month, the pressure gauge should be tested on all fire extinguishers. Fire Risk Assessments Every year, it is required that a qualified technician carries out a thorough check on all your extinguishers for them to be fully serviced and certified. In addition to regular maintenance checks on your fire safety equipment, it is vital your commercial property has a fire risk assessment carried out every 4 years, with a renewal every 2 years. Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally. By having a fire risk assessment review, it determines whether any changes could impact the ability for your equipment to properly protect your building. Fire Safety Logbook During a risk assessment, all fire doors must be checked to ensure they are in good condition and close efficiently with secure hinges. The fire seals must be fixed in position, with signs on the door present and legible. To keep an overview of all findings and actions, there should be a fire safety logbook and maintenance record that remains at your premises at all times. The logbook is used to record and review any significant findings when carrying out the fire risk assessment. This helps to keep all fire safety equipment functioning effectively and available to respond to emergency fires.

Software Systems Improve Firefighter Emergency Preparedness
Software Systems Improve Firefighter Emergency Preparedness

In communities of all sizes, fire crews are always in need of finding ways to improve preparedness and reduce risk. When fire departments use software systems that meet these needs, they stay safer and more informed on the scene. They also ensure that citizens stay safer during fire emergencies. Since the first organized response to a fire emergency began, firefighters have always made it a point to prevent injuries and minimize fire-related damage. However, since that time, technology has improved virtually everything about fire response, from the way crews get to the scene, to the information they have in transit about the emergency, to what they need to do upon arrival. This knowledge means fire crews no longer need to use three-ring binders full of documents to search for information. Instead, they use mobile data terminals (MDTs) and mobile fire software apps on smartphones, laptops, or tablets in their ladder trucks, fire engines, and other vehicles, which provide them with instant access to the data they need when it’s needed. Fire crews no longer need to use three-ring binders full of documents to search for information Mission Critical Data For Emergencies MDTs work directly with a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system to show first responders information about an emergency. With this technology, mission-critical data with real-time information about an emergency is available for fire crews. Having this data on hand helps keep crews safe, protect citizens, and reduce the risk of catastrophic damage to the structure involved. For example, if fire crews respond to a structure fire and dispatchers receive information while on the call that the roof collapsed before crews arrival, fire crews are made aware of this information in real time. Any information dispatchers receive about the emergency is immediately available for fire crews using an MDT. Information included in an MDT includes location of hazardous chemicals on site, knowledge of any hazardous materials on site, owner contact information, building entrance points and floorplans, and hydrant location. Any information dispatchers receive about the emergency is immediately available for fire crews Advance Planning For Fire Rescue MDTs are vital components to fire rescue. These ruggedized laptops are often mounted in a firetruck and crews communicate with one another regarding the data dispatchers share. When fire crews do not have access to an MDT, they rely upon radio transmissions, cell phones, and pagers to share information. Without a way to share this information in transit, fire crews create attack plans on the scene. This results in more time being spent planning rather than tackling the fire emergency, which could result in more damage and injuries or loss of life. For instance, fires double in size every 30 seconds. When technology can be leveraged so fire crews can create an attack plan while in transit, they reduce risk on the scene. Advanced planning helps each member of the crew know what he or she is doing on the scene based on their roles. Mobile Communication Apps Another way fire crews improve preparedness and reduce risk in a fire response is through the use of a mobile fire software application that can be used on smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and works seamlessly with MDTs.Mobile apps help bridge the gap between the communication received from dispatch to all  members of a fire crew Mobile apps help bridge the gap between the communication received from dispatch to all members of a fire crew. Plus, with a mobile app that knows who’s using the device, it can automatically populate the information the user needs based on the location of the user and the user’s role.  That means personalized information is delivered as it is needed, which helps crew members to begin their attack plans before arriving on the scene. Crews that use mobile apps arrive on the scene better prepared to attack the fire immediately, thereby saving time and reducing risk. Another benefit of using mobile fire apps is that they are less costly than other software solutions, which helps fire departments purchase more for crews. Many fire departments use MDTs and mobile fire apps so that crews are well-equipped with informational tools. With this opportunity to arrive more prepared on the scene, fire crews can reduce risk to themselves and those involved in the emergency. Vital information is placed into the hands of crew members no matter where they are in the rig, ladder truck, or fire engine Accessible Information For Fire Crews Both mobile fire apps and MDTs work together to harness the power of CAD and bring it directly to fire crews. Vital information is placed into the hands of crew members no matter where they are in the rig, ladder truck, or fire engine. Plus, mobile fire apps can be used by volunteer firefighters, which helps ensure they are as connected to details about the emergency as possible.Another benefit of technology in the world of firefighting is that mobile fire apps and MDTs can work together Fire crews using both have vital routing information, data regarding the structure involved, pre-plans, history, access to their own maps, and anything else that enhances contextual awareness for crews.Another benefit of technology in the world of firefighting is that mobile fire apps and MDTs can work together. While both harness the power of CAD and bring it directly to fire crews, an app is more accessible for crews in the back of the rig or ladder truck. Considerations When Purchasing Mobile Data Terminals The most important thing for fire departments to consider before purchasing an MDT or mobile app is this: Ensure that the software allows for users to take their own CAD information, so they can extend its functionality. These fire software systems should also be intuitive so that they know who is using it and what information they need. They should also be hands-free and understand spoken commands and have the capacity to take those commands and escalate to the next level. By making use of the software systems available to fire departments, crews experience a better use of their time, access relevant information for all roles, and stay safer on the scene through better preparedness and risk reduction.

Latest Unifire AB news

Unifire AB Unveils The ONE App For Wireless Remote Control Of Robotic Nozzles From iOS And Android Devices
Unifire AB Unveils The ONE App For Wireless Remote Control Of Robotic Nozzles From iOS And Android Devices

UNIFIRE AB proudly announces the ONE App for iOS and Android devices for the wireless remote control of its robotic nozzles (aka remote controlled monitors). With the ONE App, one can turn any phone or tablet into a full-featured, wireless remote control for Unifire’s monitor and robotic nozzle systems with InterAct technology. One can use as many devices as needed without the need for joysticks. Unifire is proud of the further advancement of robotic nozzle technologies with the introduction of its new ONE App. The App is now available for free on the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and on Google Play for Android. The App works with all Unifire robotic nozzle systems that have Unifire’s InterAct core technology.

Johnson Controls Partners With TBWIC And RISE To Assess The Performance Of SPRAYSAFE
Johnson Controls Partners With TBWIC And RISE To Assess The Performance Of SPRAYSAFE

Earlier this year, Johnson Controls partnered with a third-party consulting firm and research group to successfully test a new technology that could potentially save countless lives with early fire identification and intervention for rapid fire protection to the external facade of a building. The standalone system was designed to quickly identify and accurately pinpoint the location of the fire and deliver water to that exact location within seconds. In addition, the system may use existing building fire protection infrastructure to minimise the need for additional water supplies, pipework and pumps. Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants (TBWIC) in cooperation with the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE) conducted a full-scale fire test program to assess the performance of this new SPRAYSAFE Autonomous Fire Suppression (AFS) technology, licensed by Unifire AB. Small Target Fires Testing occurred from January to March of 2018 at the TBWIC facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The purpose of the test was to validate the ability of the new SPRAYSAFE AFS technology to autonomously detect and locate an early-stage fire, distribute water to its location and prevent it from spreading on the exterior surface of a building with combustible facade materials. The objective of the targeting tests was to verify that the system could automatically detect and accurately direct water spray at small target fires Two tests were conducted – a targeting test series and a large-scale fire performance test -- using combustible fire cladding. The objective of the targeting tests was to verify that the system could automatically detect and accurately direct water spray at small target fires within the limits of the coverage area at both minimum and maximum operating pressures. Prevent Fire Spread The large-scale fire performance test was conducted to verify the system could adequately prevent fire spread on a simulated full-scale facade. Three different attack types were assessed – vertical downward, diagonal downward and horizontal. A free-burn test was also performed to verify the combustibility and response of the facade material without suppression. The testing validated the new SPRAYSAFE AFS technology has the capability to rapidly and autonomously fight an early-stage fire anywhere within its coverage area. Additionally, the system also effectively contained flashover fires, prevented fires from spreading via the exterior of the facade surface and limited severe fire damage to the point of origin. “As buildings continue to reach new heights, the need for early fire detection and intervention of the facade is critically important,” said Fredrik Rosen, marketing manager, Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants. “This revolutionary technology from Johnson Controls can quickly and effectively fight fires in high-rise buildings, which is a major challenge in today’s environment.”

UNIFIRE Announces TARGA Water Cannon Technology
UNIFIRE Announces TARGA Water Cannon Technology

UNIFIRE’s TARGA can receive signals from flame detectors or IR cameras and automatically aim at the fire Renowned Swedish water cannon manufacturer, UNIFIRE AB, announces its all-new, ultra-modern TARGA™ water cannon technology! Poised to revolutionize the water cannon industry, the unique TARGA system allows users to simply and economically tailor water cannon systems to their individual needs. From basic, low-cost, stand-alone installations, to highly sophisticated and integrated systems. The already iconic Unifire FORCE 316L stainless steel monitors, on the market since 2002, are now being offered in an upgraded TARGA version, featuring modern, long-lasting, highly accurate BLDC motors and the all-new TARGA PLC control system. The TARGA is a scalable system platform that supports up to six BLDC motors and numerous analogue and digital inputs and outputs. This substantially raises the bar for the industry and opens worlds of possibilities—unavailable anywhere on the market until now. Customized Users can easily assign any function they wish to the numerous inputs and outputs of the TARGA PLC. An analogue input can, for example, be used for an off-the shelf analogue Joystick, or a pressure or flow gauge, or auto-level device, or any other analogue reading or signal. The analogue signal can directly control any of the outputs on the TARGA PLC, or send the readings over a network to be displayed in a control room. Or, they can control an external unit, such as a pump motor or a valve. Limitless possibilities.  Automation The TARGA PLC is both powerful and flexible. It can be easily programmed to carry out automated sequences, such as, for example: 1) open a hatch; 2) extend a telescopic pipe; 3) move the water cannon to a specific start position; 4) open the water valve; and 5) run a pre-recorded pattern—all initiated by the press of a single button. Network One TARGA can serve as a Canbus master in a larger system, allowing automation involving multiple TARGA PLC’s. An infinite number of TARGA units can be connected together to make up small or even very large networks of water cannons for use in shopping malls, tank farms, warehouses, stadiums, highway tunnels, etc. Autonomous Each TARGA can receive signals from flame detectors or IR cameras and automatically aim at the fire. The TARGA can compute the water cannon’s trajectory based on real-time readings. In a large system, each TARGA is an autonomous “cell”, and a control room computer can be used for monitoring and remote controlling water cannons when desired. Scalable The TARGA can be fitted with up to six BLDC motor drivers. Thus a single TARGA PLC can control up to three water cannons. It supports any type of joystick: analogue, Syncron™ (point-and-shoot), digital, push-button, Canbus or I2C. Each Joystick can be directly routed to control the local TARGA system, or it can appear as a Canbus unit on a network. Several Joysticks can be connected to one TARGA PLC. Screens and monitors The system supports a wide variety of commercially-available display screens and video monitors. Canbus touch-screens or web-interfaces allow customers to use any generic computer or tablet to access and control the system. Very cost effective The client can exactly specify the system based on budget or technical requirement. A minimized scope of supply is very cost effective and will fit within virtually any budget.

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