Fire Service turns to ICT

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 16th May 2013

 PNG Fire Service has embarked on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to create efficiencies in its operations.

Chief Fire Officer Isaac Silas said this was part of the organisation’s overall communications improvement programme.  

He said the Fire Service was introducing a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, which would be integrated with database systems “that will become the heart of our operations”.  

The CAD is a public safety specialised suite of software used in the call centre to process emergency calls for assistance, dispatch and maintain status of responding resources. 

The use of ICT will also enable reduced training and organisational meeting cost by use of video conferencing to conduct training and staff meetings.  

The infrastructure ensures that there is effective and reliable medium for exchange of vital operational and non-operational information and data between each fire service location throughout the country. 

“We are introducing redundancy into the network for continuity in case of failure,” Silas said. 

“The national call centre is being established in the headquarters. 

“This is housing the CAD software and call centre staff.  Radio and telephone services will be upgraded as well. 

“We have partnered with Telikom, Conxions, Alpha Nets and TE (PNG) locally and internationally with Meridian Systems to deliver the CAD system and training.”

The programme is divided into three implementation phases – phase one is in progress in NCD; phase two will cover the major stations of Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo; and phase three covers the remaining seven stations – Wewak, Madang, Goroka, Kimbe, Kavieng, Popondetta and Alotau.  

“A major impediment is the delayed implementation of the recently approved Fire Service structure,” Silas said.

“This will introduce new staff to the call centre and the ICT section so that once the CAD is installed. Training must take place before CAD goes live.

“Another important aspect we are working on is to ensure the 110 fire emergency calls made locally in each province are received at the nearest fire station. 

“Right now this is not as effective as it should be.  

We will work with National Information and Communications Technology Authority to ensure that all service providers enable this service to work.”

Silas said after phase one, all users in NCD would be able to send and receive emails, access the internet (for authorised users only) and participate in video calls using skype, a widely used video and multimedia software programme, to improve on communication within the organisation and the country.