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Fighting fires, especially forest or bush fires, requires the alerting and coordination of large numbers of volunteers and/or professionals. During an emergency such volunteers form a crucial workforce who can be despatched rapidly as strike teams. In a large scale emergency tens of thousands of such fire fighters must be co-ordinated across vast areas.

In countries prone to fire, and sometimes catastrophic fires, such firefighter strike teams are a crucial aspect of civil defence and safety. In such circumstances volunteer fire fighters receive alerts to attend a fire as part of a strike team, and then rapidly assemble at a fire station to roll an equipped fire fighting truck with its strike team complement.

Infostream supplies all the component parts necessary to implement a country wide solution to this complex problem.

A complete solution involves the following components:

Transmitter Base Stations

Most fire fighting and 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.

Emergency Services networks consist of a system of interconnected Base Stations. These 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.

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. 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 strike teams through its group alerting functionality.

Pager Receiving Devices

The last piece of the solution is the delivery of highly sensitive pager receivers that can decode the message stream appropriate for that person or team, and enable the user to respond to the alert.
Infostream has a range of pager devices that satisfy this need, especially the X5-w (a waterproof version of the X5 that can be used by firefighters in typical fire situations) and the X5-i which is an intrinsically safe version for use by emergency personnel in the presence of hazardous gases and materials.

Examples of Firefighter Volunteer Services


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