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Emergency Services

In most countries there exists a volunteer force that can be marshaled to deal with emergency situations - such as the natural disasters of floods, earthquakes, storms, landslides and also the man-made disasters of crashes, factory fires and structural collapse.  On a smaller scale, many industrial sites that have hazardous environments like mines, oil refineries, chemical plants, gas plants and similar have a need for local public safety personnel who can monitor, assist and inspect the site.

In both these circumstances there is a need to be able to assemble together a team of people and then assign them a sequence of tasks and locations. Once a team has finished a task, they need to be able to confirm their status and be assigned a new task and location.

Infostream supplies all the component parts necessary to implement such systems, either on a site specific basis, or on a broader state wide emergency network basis.

A complete solution involves the following components:

Transmitter Base Stations

Most state-wide emergency services systems rely on dedicated networks, rather than relying on existing commercial telecommunication infrastructure. There are three very important reasons for this:
  1. The emergency services network is designed to operate in an emergency, when it is a matter of life or death as to whether messages get reliably transmitted. Such networks are designed to work under peak overload conditions. In contrast commercial networks are designed for normal range circumstances, and get easily overwhelmed in an emergency. In addition, commercial telecommunications networks can find it difficult to assign priority to emergency traffic, as their control operations may not be integrated into the emergency dispatch and control centres.
  2. Dedicated emergency services networks are designed to be resilient to failure, and to continue to operate during extreme conditions. In contrast, it has been the experience in most major emergencies that the first networks to fail, and the last networks to recover, are the commercial networks.
  3. Dedicated emergency services networks are designed to provide coverage into remote areas, and to ensure almost total state wide network coverage. In contrast commercial networks tend to focus on where the population lives, and their network coverage in remote rural areas may be sparse.

In addition, public safety systems in hazardous sites cannot use GSM based devices and micro-cells - they are not intrinsically safe, and it is simply too dangerous to use anything but a dedicated low power and safe network when personnel may be in the presence of gases or explosives.

Emergency Services networks consist of a system of interconnected Base Stations. If these are state wide, they must be carefully positioned to enable accurate coverage across the terrain, and must be coordinated in terms of frequency and timing to ensure the efficient operation of the network and the pagers.  If they are local to a site, care must be exercised in the location and design of the transmitters so that appropriate coverage occurs in all buildings and circumstances on the site.

Infostream manufactures Base Station Controllers, Cypher Transmitter Encoders and Simulcast Network Encoders as part of its integrated network offering. These can be coupled to commercial transmitters to form a complete integrated Base Station.

VIPER Alerting System

The second part of a complete solution is an Alert Management & Message Control System in the form of a Paging Terminal. Infostream designs and manufactures a complete solution under the VIPER brand that is purpose built for emergency services and fire fighter callout.

VIPER Enterprise is a high reliability system (five nines availability) that can manage hundreds of thousands of pager devices, and many hundreds of Base Stations. It supports the industry standard paging protocols of FLEX and POCSAG, and has the capacity to rapidly create and alert flexible work teams through its group alerting functionality.  For smaller site public safety environments, Infostream supplies smaller versions of VIPER that are appropriate to the size of the network being managed. 

Viper has a sophisticated queuing and priority system, which can be used to ensure rapid delivery of crucial messages


Pager Receiving Devices

The last piece of the solution is the delivery of exactly appropriate devices.  For public safety personnel operating in hazardous environments, the X5-i is purpose built to conform to the exacting demands of these circumstances.  For broader emergency services personnel, the X5-w or the X5-s is an appropriate choice - both are water resistant which is a necessary requirement as many emergency services circumstances involve exposure to wind, rain, floods and dust.  The X5-w in particular is a targeted device for this market, as it provides an IP67 rated waterproof and dustproof device in a highly robust enclosure.

Examples of Emergency Services in Action

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