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CFA brigades to go digital
Almost 500 CFA brigades across Victoria will be able to communicate directly with those who dispatch them to emergencies, saving valuable time,when a state-of-the-art digital communications network is rolled out over the next 18 months.
As part of the $42.9 million Regional Radio Dispatch Service (RRDS) project, Telstra, supported by Motorola Solutions, has been chosen to build and maintain the new infrastructure for CFA, and the state’s emergency services digital radio service in regional Victoria.
The announcement was made today by Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Kim Wells.
CFA Chief Officer, Euan Ferguson, said the network will provide regional brigades with direct radio communications to the dispatch operators, and a new generation of high-quality digital dispatch capability across the state.
“Members will also benefit from clearer radio dispatch coverage, which is currently available to Victoria Police, MFB, Ambulance Victoria and our brigades in metropolitan Melbourne,” he said.
“It will also reduce the need for group communications officers to support day-to-day dispatch communications activities. This role, however, will remain essential for incident management communications and these members will continue to maintain their skills through regular training and exercises.
“But most importantly, this is a major upgrade of the state’s communications systems and will improve our service delivery to Victorian communities.”
Currently, CFA crews in rural areas must relay communications via a local group communications officer to give important information about the status of an incident and location of crews.
The rollout will begin in November this year and will be available to all regional brigades by mid next year.
“This will be followed by the training and eventual operational transition for all brigades involved which will be undertaken at a regional level,” Mr Ferguson said.
“The rollout is part of our switchover to digitally enabled Tait radios which are currently operating on an analogue network, awaiting the introduction of this Regional Radio Dispatch Service (RRDS).
“The new digital network will initially be dedicated to dispatching regional CFA brigades and will use newly assigned channels. Fireground and command and control channels are not changing as an outcome of this project.
Telstra Executive Director of Government and Not for Profit, Chris Pearce said the RRDS will be delivered by Telstra and supported by Motorola Solutions, combining the strengths and expertise of both companies in delivering public safety solutions.
“Through our work with the CFA and Motorola, we are proud to be helping make regional Victoria a safer place,” Mr Pearce said.
“This project is intended to extend the CFA’s dispatch radio footprint from outer metropolitan Melbourne through to rural and regional Victoria.
“It demonstrates our commitment to providing Australia’s emergency services with the latest public safety technology.”
*Photos by CFA's Keith Pakenham