London, UK, 21 January 2009 – Surrey Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) has introduced a new state of the art command and control system for mobilising its crews and appliances, using the NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer) as the primary source of property and building information. Installed during December 2008, the system ensures the despatch of the nearest, quickest and most appropriate vehicle. It is expected to dramatically speed up response times, potentially saving lives and ensuring the safety of its personnel.
The NLPG is run on behalf of local government by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) with Intelligent Addressing (IA) as the national custodian.
The software, designed specifically for the mobilisation task, includes a 'live map' interface, enabling command and control centre staff to see vehicle locations in real time. Once an incident has been reported, the system automatically chooses the nearest, best-equipped and appropriate appliance based on the fire type. A fire in a fourth floor flat for example will require an appliance with a ladder of appropriate height. The system also calculates the best routes based upon fire appliance travel time ensuring the correct vehicle is mobilised.
SFRS has been working with their local authorities, the police and the NHS for over two years to build on the excellence of the NLPG and further improve the quality of the data needed to support the system. It has also migrated all of its 'risk intelligence' relating to 50,000 properties to the NLPG, with which the command and control system is now fully interfaced. Unlike any other source of information, the NLPG supplies accurate sub-postcode location and risk information for properties and buildings, many of which have no postal address. By allying risk intelligence with dynamic location, the appropriate crews and appliances get routed to incidents more quickly and with greater accuracy. What's more, fire crews are better prepared as all the risk data will have been sent direct to the appliance's cab mounted data terminal well before arrival at the incident.
SFRS are also building a web portal to post change and update information gleaned from operations as it becomes available. Local authority gazetteer custodians will then access the portal in order to update, validate and improve the NLPG. The whole data migration plus the workflows for the vital update process has been achieved in close consultation with Intelligent Addressing, the NLPG custodian.
This project is in preparation for the switchover to a nationally linked network of nine Regional Control Centres (RCCs) across England by 2012 known as the FiReControl project. This will provide the fire and rescue service with the resources and specialist equipment it needs to meet the challenges of today's world such as industrial accidents, terrorist threats and weather related incidents. FiReControl's central command and control system will also use the NLPG as its primary source of property and building information.