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Delivering enhanced operational intelligence within Strathclyde Fire and Rescue

  • Not only does geographic intelligence enhance the quality and delivery of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue’s response information, it also provides scope for the sharing of intelligence and best practice across other emergency services.

    Kenny Fraser, Firelink Manager, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (SFR) is using Ordnance Survey data, now supplied through the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA), to enhance the quality of incident information for all personnel attending emergencies. This is now available at the scene and on route to incidents, and includes a range of key datasets that describe the built environment, surrounding landscape and other relevant operational considerations.

The challenge

Beyond the immediate risk of tackling an incident, firefighters face a variety of hazards whilst responding to an emergency; and personal safety and thus duty of care can be severely compromised if sufficient information is unavailable. SFR had already identified the need to re-evaluate its information systems and wanted to improve the quality of its incident plans with enhanced structural diagrams to boost situational awareness and reduce response times. The capability to present 3-D graphical images on a mapping backdrop alongside all other response information, would enable SFR to access accurate, timely and relevant location-driven detail linked to specific emergency situations.

The solution

Using Ordnance Survey data provided under the OSMA, SFR has developed a powerful in-house information system to inform its emergency response. With geographic intelligence underpinning its response data, personnel involved in every stage of a call-out can now retrieve relevant, location-specific detail precisely at the point of need.

Information about the structural environment is the foundation for intelligence provided to those on the ground. Central to this is the use of OS MasterMap® Topography Layer, which provides an easy, time-saving way to create the detailed 3-D models that clarify significant risks. Containing more than 400 million individual features, including railways and individual buildings, it provides a detailed view of the landscape and can be used with SFR’s own information, such as relevant premises or situational detail. This information is then delivered to front-line personnel as a single data source via the mobile data terminal in all appliances.

Mapping data underpins a detailed incident response plan – available to personnel on route – that provides all the information needed to agree the initial response to an emergency and formulate a plan of action. Provided in a graphical format, this data can be quickly interrogated and the structural plan of premises layered over a map tile with additional information appended.

Mapping has proven to be the ideal base for presenting incident data – showing key intelligence such as access and hardstanding in a way that can be instantly understood. Whether adding road restrictions or information tags where crew can access further detail, this means of presenting and delivering response intelligence is helping to significantly enhance crew safety and efficiency.

The benefits

  • Safeguards crew and public safety through the development of a one-stop integrated tool providing a familiar, user-friendly delivery platform for compiling and accessing all response data related to specific emergency situations.
  • Enables personnel to view operational information in a real-world context before arriving at the incident.
  • Reduces risks in response efforts as the system evolves and the quantity of data within it increases.
  • Improves risk management whilst acknowledging that there will never be a situation of zero risk where fire and rescue is concerned.
  • Savings of between £70 000 and £120 000 in annual licence fees for similar commercial products through in-house software development.

The products used

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Related case studies

In 2005, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service became one of the first in the country to deploy OS MasterMap® Topography Layer to every one of its appliances.

West Midland Fire and Rescue Service avoids annual cost of £470 000 by developing and implementing in-house technology and software.

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