Disaster communications goes high tech

Summary:Victorian emergency personnel will soon be able to review vital data on their smartphones before they arrive at a disaster scene.

A new system that will merge voice, text, email, and location services will allow emergency services workers to communicate via mobile and radio, in an Australian-first trial.

Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said emergency responders need to be able to make better decisions early, and therefore communicate better with the community during events like bushfires and floods.

"Our ultimate aim is for responders to be able to view real-time streaming video of incidents, listen to dispatchers' instructions, and review emergency services data on smartphones before they arrive on scene," Lapsley said.

"Traditionally, our fire, flood, and emergency services operators have operated on radio communication, but in this day and age, where data is more available, we want to use the 3G network."

Some of the new technology to be tested in coming months under the AU$4 million state government project will include camera surveillance and sensory satellite information and 3G technology used for mobile and radio devices.

A test vehicle will be used in conjunction with fire operations as a learning platform to test and evaluate some of the latest available technology.

Topics: Networking, Government : AU, Mobility

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