From DIY solutions to professionalization!
Sam Gydé, head of dispatching and ICT of the Ghent Fire Station, talks about changes at the fire brigade.
When they receive the call, it is often an emergency: eliminating wasps, releasing someone trapped in a car after an accident, rescuing people who are drowning, or preparing safety precautions for somebody who threatens to jump off a roof. In cases like these, the fire brigade operates in high-stress levels and it is crucial for the brigade to arrive as fast and well-informed as possible to the emergency scene. The use of new Fleet Complete technologies enabled efficient back and forth communication between the brigade workers, who nowadays get all the necessary information quickly and reliably, and are able to deliver a prompt response with maximum efficiency thanks to the route optimization.
"The driver must always know what routes he can take to the incident or to the nearest hospital. Additionally, you would like to stay in touch with central control and be able to share information and status updates. When everyone is informed of the situation, central control knows the issue at hand and is able to dispatch the best available in any incident. Knowing the status of each vehicle is very important to us. Our entire planning depends on it."
- Sam Gydé , head of dispatching and ICT of the Ghent Fire Brigade
Reforms bring ‘new era’
In order to achieve the important new reform at the fire brigade, it was essential to also deal differently with information provisioning. Sam Gydé, head of dispatching and ICT of the Ghent Fire Brigade says: “In the past, the fire fighter, who was called up, received a paper map on which the address was written of where they had to go. Navigation was not available in the vehicles. At the time, this was not much of a problem because all fire fighters were locals. Everyone knew the area like the back of their hands. Several years ago, a large reorganization occurred within the fire brigade. From 300 independent fire stations, we changed to 30 zones. Thus, where initially 300 stations did the coordination, we now only have 30 coordination locations. This results in a different way of working from what we were used to. Continuing in the old method of information provision would have resulted in a lot of stress and, eventually, victims. Due to this reorganization, the fire brigade serves a much bigger area, meaning that the fire brigade personnel is no longer familiar with the area. How can you assist them as much as possible? It is, therefore, important to look at equipment and ICT programs and update these, so that we can continue to build upon them.”
ICT programs adapted to each other
The fire brigade was already actively investigating how ‘ruggedized PCs’ could be a benefit. These are special PCs that can be brought along when the fire brigade responds to an emergency; PCs that can handle a few knocks but are also a very expensive purchase. The Antwerp police pointed out its positive experiences with Fleet Complete to the fire brigade; they have special tools to allow the field employees to work as efficiently as possible, making use of apps for the tablet. “We were faced with a few main issues,” Gydé indicates. “The driver must always know what routes he can take to the incident or to the nearest hospital. Additionally, you would like to stay in touch with central control and be able to share information and status updates. When everyone is informed of the situation, central control knows the issue at hand and is able to dispatch the best available in any incident. Knowing the status of each vehicle is very important to us. Our entire planning depends on it.”
Linking and collaboration
In order to integrate the necessary updates, the ICT was put under a magnifying glass. “We went over our complete process with Fleet Complete. A number of things fitted in perfectly with the Fleet Complete app. Additionally, we made a link with our in-house systems. FieldMap in the Fleet Complete app ensures that we can accurately guide our field workers to the correct location. This occurs in combination with the GPS-tracking in the navigation system. We had to have a system that we can always depend on, no matter what happens. In collaboration with Ghent Fire Brigade ICT, Fleet Complete was able to create the link between the central back office and the systems in the vehicles. In addition to that, we can also see where the vehicle is, how fast the vehicle drives, whether the vehicle has its siren switched on and many other factors. The latter is important to refute misunderstandings about unnecessary speeding by the fire brigade,” Gydé says.
Now every fire brigade vehicle has a tablet, so that the driver and passenger are supplied with all information during the trip to the incident. During the trip, the person primarily responsible reads out all information about the building and the area. “They know immediately what the situation is like on location, where the hydrants are and other crucial aspects to the situation. This way we can take immediate action. And acting fast saves lives,” Gydé emphasizes.
Efficient dispatching and detailed reporting for fire brigades
Fire Brigade Intervention
Fast and adequate assistance in the digital age. The Fire Brigade Intervention module is an integrated system, consisting of software and hardware modules, ensuring more efficient dispatching with more overview regarding completed activities.
Insight into your field operations using the online real-time reporting tool
FieldDesk is the central online database part of all Fleet Complete software modules. All information from the MGS10, Time Tracker and FieldMobile app will be sent digitally to FieldDesk and translated into clear, transparent reports for management and administration.
Real-time location display
FieldMap will give you total insight into:
- All vehicles and employees on the map
- Either the name of the driver, the license plate or a name you generate
- Addresses on the map that are important to you, such as your customers, suppliers or projects
- Closest driver available to the appointed location
- Vehicle’s driving speed and status, such as stationary or idling