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Photos: Fighting fire with tablet technology

Hampshire Fire and Rescue shows off its 21st-century IT...
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1 of 5 Astrium GEO-Information Services

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service tablet computing

Hampshire Fire and Rescue shows off its 21st-century IT...

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is using wireless comms and tablet computing to better prepare firefighters for tackling blazes and other call-outs.

Firefighters in the service use terminals to pinpoint the location of fires and other incidents, and to learn about potential hazards - such as gas cannisters near a blaze or information on a chemical that has been spilled.

The ruggedised tablet PCs are mounted in the cabs of fire engines and information is relayed to them via a wireless connection, which pulls information from the fire service's back end and other systems.

The firefighter seen here is using the mounted terminal to access the SAFEcommand system, provided by Astrium GEO-Information Services, which displays useful information, such as hazards at incident sites.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service uses the SAFEcommand vehicle-mounted data system in all of its 130 fire engines.

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2 of 5 Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service mapping software

A close-up of a firefighter using mapping software on a mobile data terminal, which allows the crew to access information on the location of ongoing incidents.

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3 of 5 Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters software

The touchscreen system seen here provides operators at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters with telephone and radio access to emergency services, utility companies and useful government bodies such as the Environment Agency.

The system automatically records all transmissions via both radio and telephone and enables them to be played back instantly.

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4 of 5 Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service operator

Operators at all fire stations in Hampshire are able to use IP telephony, which the fire service estimates saves it more than £80,000 each year.

A secure network, built on a 100Mbps fibre-optic link, will connect 52 fire service sites, including 51 fire stations and the service's headquarters in Eastleigh. Supplier Virgin Media Business has almost completed installation of the network.

Close to 2,000 staff will use the network, including 810 wholetime firefighters, 755 retained firefighters and 370 support staff.

One of the main systems the network will support is the command and control system, which processes the 40,000 emergency 999 calls that are made to the fire service every year.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service also plans to use the network to share services with other councils and fire services across the country.

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5 of 5 Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service fire inspection

Technical staff in the service also use wireless networking and tablet computers to help them in their job assessing fire risks at business and commercial premises.

Pictured above, a member of the fire safety inspection team uses the Community Fire Risk Management Information System to access plans of a property.

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