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Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Cheshire Fire Service goes wireless
Fire appliance onboard computer information helping improve responses to emergencies

Cheshire Fire Service has awarded Xpert Communications a contract to provide wireless technology in all 24 fire stations in the county. With this new technology, fire appliances can have their onboard computers updated with essential information improving effective responses to all emergency calls and incidents.

“To date it’s been necessary for stations to undertake a weekly information update to the Appliance PC’s using a floppy disk arrangement. In addition ICT technicians have had to visit each fire station and update the computers whenever a technical fix or update was required. Now, with the introduction of wireless technology, the PCs and information can be updated remotely. Not only will this improve the speed of update but will ensure timely dissemination and utilisation of information to fire fighters.” said Ian Davies, ICT Operations Manager, Cheshire Fire Service.

Using the onboard computers , fire-fighters can call up accurate information whilst responding to a 999 call. En route to, and at the site of an incident, details of a particular location and significant features such as flammable and explosive materials, hazardous substances can be viewed. With this information, fire-fighters are able to quickly make an informed decision about the incident strategy thereby helping reduce the chance of casualties and damage to property.

Updating the information remotely ensures that all computers have the most current information as soon as it becomes available without the reliance on manual intervention. This process will help to prevent failures, oversights and delays that can happen when relying on an individual to conduct updates.

Neil Andrews, Xpert Communications said “We have a very strong relationship with Cheshire Fire Service that has spanned many years and we’re extremely pleased to have won this contract. Wireless technology will bring a new dimension to the Fire Service helping them put critical information into the hands of fire-fighters, improve its response to emergencies and deliver an improved public service.”

Each of the fire stations in Cheshire will have a Cisco Wireless Access Point installed in the appliance bay. Thirty seven of the fire appliances already have a ruggedized PC installed which will have a client adapter attached to allow the PC to connect to the Local Area Network when the appliance is in its bay. Sophisticated security products will be implemented to ensure that only authorised PCs and users and connect to the Fire Service network. Cisco’s Wireless LAN Solution Engine will provide a management platform to enable the devices to be remotely managed from the Service Headquarters in Winsford.

Xpert commenced installation in January and the new system will be up and running by the end of March 2005.
Press Contacts:Ann Fielder / Kate SmithInsight Marketing & Communications0208 564 6385 / 01625 506 420afielder@insightmkt.com / ksmith@insightmkt.com

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