Modernising and streamlining control room resources and systems to offer a greater standard of service to the Irish public
The Irish fire services were operating a number of different technical solutions for communications with firefighters at stations and on the move. They needed support with the design, procurement and implementation of their regional control centres, which directly affect response times and the ability to save lives.
There are three control centres that have been established in Ireland to handle call taking and mobilising services in three separate regions – the East, West and then the Mid West and South West. In addition, the East and West control rooms provide support for ambulance crews, placing even more responsibility within their remit.
Our work with the East and West projects included assistance in the development of the initial user requirements and technical documentation to then be used in the subsequent tendering process. This research process revealed that the scope of the solution included the need for voice and mobile data systems that were based on digital microwave solutions, as well as computer-aided dispatch systems for both fire and ambulance services, integrated communications control systems, management information systems, geographical information systems (including digital mapping and reporting tools), as well as the need for all systems to be resilient and regularly preserved at a separate back-up site.
Having managed the procurement process, our involvement continued during the implementation phase, ensuring continuity of service during migration to the new system, with integration testing for the various systems deployed, all leading to our final acceptance of the complete solution on behalf of the fire services.
The final solutions allowed the Irish fire services to transition from a distributed and autonomous means of mobilising resources to what is now a more joined up and efficient means of dispatch, supporting real-time information availability and capture.
Following on from this successful deployment, we assisted with the development of an outline ICT strategy for the department, including drawing up potential operational models for their migration to the National Digital Radio Service, and its integration with existing command and control operations. We continue to provide ongoing technical advice and assurance to the fire services, ensuring the continued improvement of service to the public, as well as ensuring internal operational efficiency – incorporating new technical solutions and technologies whenever appropriate.