An annual cost avoidance of £470 000 has been realised at West Midland Fire and Rescue Service (WMFRS) by developing and implementing their own technology and software to enhance its geographical information system (GIS) and data integration capability.
A solution was required at WMFRS that would transform its IT assets to save money and improve the quality of service delivery. The solution would need to be ‘future-proofed’ and developed exclusively for the emergency services, to enable the efficient capture, analysis and dissemination of operational information across the organisation.
WMFRS has developed and delivered technology that provides an award-winning solution to common fire service requirements. Using a single piece of hardware and an innovative ‘workbook’ design (featuring their ‘Activity Assistant’) data can be captured from employees across the entire organisation.
Whether an employee is documenting an emergency incident (for IRS submission), completing a home fire safety check, highlighting site-specific risk or submitting evidence for their own personal development record, the ‘workbook’ can be used to make the process as simple and efficient as possible.
Workbooks can be placed on a map and linked to a gazetteer to build a more complete picture of activity at any particular property (using recognised ‘open-source’ technology). Their solution has been recognised and promoted by Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are already benefiting from the technology.
- £470 000 annual cost avoidance delivered for WMFS.
- Ease of use – 490 users gave an unprecedented ‘excellent’ rating for ease of use of the software.
- WMFRS estimates resultant operational efficiencies at 15 000 hours per year.
- CLG sponsored pilot scheme for other fire and rescue services underway (starting with SFRS).
- Data timeliness can be greatly improved; risk-critical data can be detected, distilled and distributed to mobile data terminals automatically.
- By establishing a unified data environment, the high costs associated with integrating disparate systems together are negated.
- An easy-to-implement, award-winning system that has been developed exclusively for emergency service use with minimal initial outlay.
- Massive reduction in external training and support costs.
- Allows rich interactive GIS applications to be used effectively by operational staff.