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News

Wireless emergency response vehicle network for on the scene communications

Firetide : 12 June, 2009  (Application Story)
Firetide's mesh technology is being used for the development of next generation communication system between incident response vehicles in the UK
Next-generation emergency response vehicles in the UK will soon hit the road equipped with always-on network technologies capable of transmitting and receiving real-time video, voice and data feeds in a wide variety of formats. The Mobile Incident Response Vehicles, or MIRVs, were designed by Cardiff, Wales-based Excelerate Technology - the leading UK information, communications and technology provider for emergency service organizations - and feature wireless infrastructure mesh technology from Los Gatos, Calif.-based Firetide. The leading developer of wireless mesh infrastructure networks, Firetide provides the advanced tools required to create ad-hoc networks that can transfer critical data between medical vehicles and personnel within and around "hot zones" during a major hazardous incident.

Excelerate developed its MIRV systems to satisfy goals prescribed within the UK's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) initiative. HART was created to identify new ways of allowing ambulance personnel access to the "inner cordon" - the hot zone - when an emergency event requires the support of mobile medical teams. Prior to the initiative, ambulances and staff were required to remain outside the primary incident area where potential contamination was not present until other agencies could arrive and declare an area free of hazardous materials. The increasing threat of chemical, biological and other events have encouraged health and security officials to elevate the role of emergency medical response services to include the inner cordon.

"Medical teams entering the hot zone need the support of technologies capable of assisting the most rapid response," says David Savage, chief executive officer of Excelerate Technology. "These are the most comprehensively equipped MIRVs ever commissioned. Ambulance Service vehicles incorporating our systems now include the technologies and wireless network intelligence to help emergency service teams manage incidents directly at the scene as well as react to changing conditions to improve risk assessment and threat management."

The list of features in an Excelerate MIRV reads like that of a major broadcasting station. Each includes a handful of LCD displays; satellite communications; private GSM networks; PBX; optical, thermal and body-worn CCTVs; and more. Critical to bringing the data together and helping emergency teams rapidly coordinate, Firetide's wireless infrastructure mesh backbone provides ambulances with reliable and sophisticated networking for distributing information between vehicles on the move.

Firetide's solutions, which include self-forming Ethernet-based wireless networks, allow network administrators to quickly set-up IP-based components designed for use within a mobile network. No matter where they are installed or how fast they're moving, devices connected to Firetide nodes such as video cameras, satellite receivers, recording devices and even vehicles themselves can easily recognize and pass critical real-time data between one another according to predetermined rules. "During an emergency, our vehicles need to support personnel and make information instantly available anywhere it's needed," says Savage. "Firetide gives us that benefit so we can focus on the emergency at hand rather than some glitch in the network."

"We believe this is the most comprehensive project of its kind in Europe," says Bo Larsson, chief executive officer of Firetide. "This deployment for the HART initiative provides convincing testament to the superior technology of our mesh infrastructure, even in the most challenging environments. It also validates that real-time wireless communications enabled by Firetide is both reliable and instantaneous, putting advanced applications within reach of first responders tasked with saving lives and protecting communities."
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