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NSW RFS’s Emergency Response Systems to Be Digitally Transformed

New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has entered into a five-year engagement with the Australia arm of an Information and Communication Technology company that will see the company digitise the NSW RFS’s mission-critical systems to help improve fire emergency outcomes in the state.

Under the AU$ 60 million program, the company develop, install and maintain incident response Mobile Data Terminals across the more than 5,000 RFS vehicles. Using a specialised program and AWS-hosted software, the Mobile Data Terminals will be a resilient platform that will provide support to firefighters fighting at the forefront. They will have access to mission-critical information such as satellite and topography imagery and weather updates. The Mobile Data Terminals will also connect firefighters to the NSW RFS Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, which is managed by the company.

Rolling out the Mobile Data Terminals across all NSW RFS fire fighting vehicles advances fire emergency outcomes by enhancing the delivery of briefings and incident information and intelligence to field commanders.

This announcement advances several of the 76 recommendations set out by the independent NSW Bushfire inquiry – which was established in response to the 2019-20 black summer bushfires – and comprises part of an AU$ 192 million NSW grant to improve and provide new emergency infrastructure for firefighters.

The Head of Industry – Public Sector at the company stated that the firm is pleased to be helping the NSW Rural Fire Service improve frontline situational awareness for firefighters, and protect rural communities, people, property, and the environment. They are also proud that their dedicated emergency services practice and experienced teams can deliver transformational innovation that helps our heroic firefighters in life-threatening situations.

The NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner said the 2019/20 bush fire season was the toughest and most devastating fire season ever experienced in NSW. He noted that following the NSW Bushfire Inquiry, the department has been working with the NSW Government and its partners to advance the recommendations set out in the report and ultimately improve how we plan, prepare and respond to bush fires. This partnership is an example of how this is being achieved.

The tech firm has begun building the integration systems, using cloud-based infrastructure to run the Adashi software platform and manage critical incidents safely and efficiently. Installation of the Mobile Data Terminals into NSW RFS vehicles will commence at the end of 2022.

This engagement is an extension of the company’s existing relationship with NSW RFS. The firm currently manages the NSW RFS’s Computer Aided Dispatch system, which it implemented in 2020. The CAD system manages the assignment and deployment of resources to emergency and non-emergency incidents.

OpenGov Asia recently reported that under a new NSW Government program, NSW is working to push forward its place as a world leader in bushfire technology commercialisation and position itself for the international export of innovative bushfire solutions. The region’s Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology stated that the Bushfire Commercialisation Fund will help innovators translate their cutting-edge research into practical solutions that will improve bushfire detection, preparation and response.

A total of AU$ 16 million over three years has been allocated, with the first round of funding offering grants of between AU$ 200,000 and AU$ 8 million to individuals, companies, research institutions and universities, to help them commercialise their research.

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