1. Why is technology so important for Fire and Rescue Services?
We receive 40,000 999 emergency calls across the county every year, staying connected to the local community and the other local public sector organisations in the area is vital. It means we can ensure we’re not only fast and efficient in our response to incidents but we also have accurate information to ensure the safety of our officers.
On a day-to-day basis, this means we are better prepared with the information to support inspections and home fire safety visits. Our fire safety officers use laptops during these visits to record information and send it to back office systems. This enables us to more quickly and accurately maintain our “risk map” by feeding back information about the location of specific dangers. Our new network helps us stay one step ahead of the curve, keeping our teams are up-to-date at all times – just one missing detail could make all the difference when we’re called out to an incident.
2. What are the benefits of public sector organisations pooling resources and sharing services?
The public sector is facing increasing budget cuts and this can have a huge impact on running services. With IP telephony supported across all our fire stations, we’re already saving over £80,000 every year. But by using the Hampshire Public Sector Network 2 (HPSN2), to buy our network services we were able to cut costs further. With a PSN network the procurement process is quicker, cheaper and simple for all organisation using it. Not only this but it will help us share information quickly and easily with the schools, health and police services in the area.
3. With the green agenda front of mind for the Government and the public, is there anything emergency services can be doing to boost their commitment to carbon reduction?
A big priority is to be as environmentally friendly as possible and we monitor mileage and the associated cost saving on a regular basis. With workers always on the move, it’s difficult for everyone to travel back to HQ to attend meetings while keeping efficiency high and costs low. Video and audio conferencing is perfect for touching base while on the go.
4. Your line of business means that you’re not always ‘in the office’. How do you ensure you stay connected to your colleagues?
On-going communication to maintain a close team working environment is essential – even when we’re on opposite sides of the county. In addition to mobile voice technologies, some of our workers now also use tablet devices to increase efficiency and reduce travel time. Carrying around tablets means they can fill out information during fire safety visits almost instantly, without the need to drive back to the station to fill out forms. This means they can get more jobs done in one day and ensure that vital risk assessments are fed back without delay.
5. How do you believe technology will continue to transform Fire and Rescue Services?
Technology will continue to transform not only Fire and Rescue Services, but all public sector services. It’s so important to have an open line of communication. We’re all working together to make Hampshire safe and collaboration is essential. In the future, more and more counties in the UK will begin sharing services to improve communication with the video conferencing and consumer devices. More and more local councils are also taking to the likes of Twitter to engage with their local communities. Without connecting to one another and our local community, we wouldn’t be saving lives every day.