The MCV will be a communication link for field operations, incident control and community information.
CFA’s Acting Manager Structural Planning and Project Manager Craig Brownlie said the new MCVs will be able to operate as a Level 2 incident control centre (ICC) for structure firefighting or as a forward operations point.
“They’ve already been fitted with operator seating, desks, screens and radios. Full commissioning of the computer networks, camera systems, and specialised software and hardware will occur over the next six weeks with CFA ICT and Excelerate Technologies,” Craig said.
CFA has selected high-end, robust, satellite and communications equipment specifically tailored to emergency services. This will allow incident controllers to develop and update the dynamically changing picture of emergency incidents, support common operational planning and improve emergency management efficiency.
“The MCVs will contain some of the most advanced technology available, which will put them at the forefront as being perhaps the most technically advanced mobile command vehicles in Australia’s fire and emergency services sector,” Craig said.
Each MCV will feature five camera points with one mounted on the vehicle. The other cameras are all remote, either placed within one kilometre of the MCV or lipstick-sized cameras carried by operational personnel.
“It’s about maximising situation awareness. Whether the event is a big structure fire, hazmat incident, or bushfire, it’s designed to operate in an all-hazards environment.”
Craig said the MCV can be used as a mobile divisional command point and an ESO liaison that will be capable of providing support to other emergency services in the event of multiple incidents in an all-hazard approach.
“Critically, it will provide redundant communication links when public infrastructure is destroyed or unavailable. One of the key benefits of the MCV is that its communications are satellite enabled which means you never run the risk of losing coms connectivity. It makes communications independent of hazards that may cut links.”
Craig said the development of the MCV means there will be significant changes to the way MCVs are used in the future. “This will enable CFA to review and revise standard operating procedures, develop training and skills maintenance requirements in line with world’s best practice with knowledge gained and developed by other emergency services.”
The current MCVs have been in service for more than 20 years and were introduced into CFA following the Ash Wednesday fires.