The Kent & Medway Towns Fire Authority (KMFTA) is to spend up to £11 million on a mobile data system to transmit information to fire engines en route to emergencies.
The authority has issued a contract tender that includes data management services, as well as infrastructure and software provision, training and support. The winning contractor will install mobile data terminals throughout KMFTA’s fleet of vehicles.
The mobile data system will be used to route fire crews to emergencies, update those routes in real time, as well as communicating back to the central system, allowing for more efficient fleet management. Any provider will also be responsible for upgrading the system to ensure it continues to meet regulatory standards.
The location of hydrants, as well as risk data, information about hazardous chemicals and general operating proceedures will all be relayed from the KMFTA central database out to the mobile terminals. Accurate GPS, and mapping software calibrated for a fire truck rather than a car, will be used to get crews on the scene of an incident quickly.
The KMFTA runs a 24-hour fire response service out of 66 fire stations across Kent. The data will need to be accessible anywhere within KMFTA’s range.
According to the tender document, KMFTA expects the implementation to take 12 months, with another twelve months at the other side of the contract to decommission the service. The fire service said this was the reason it was asking for a longer contract, up to nine years, as the system would only get two years of full use from a four year contract.