Cheshire Fire and Rescue improves safety with wireless network

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has completed a wireless infrastructure upgrade with managed networks specialist Networks First to ensure operational efficiency and safety.

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Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has completed a wireless infrastructure upgrade with managed networks specialist Networks First to ensure operational efficiency and safety.

The Cisco-based upgrade ensures that timely and automated technical, operational and community safety data automatically syncs to the service’s fire engines, providing vital information before they arrive at an emergency.

The network also enables far greater mobile working across the service's headquarters and 24 fire stations, improving team collaboration and productivity among around 700 operational staff.

The network also provides staff with access to the internet from their own devices during lunch breaks.

As part of the service’s risk mitigation policies all fire response vehicles have onboard computers providing firefighters with detailed information about the site of the emergency before they arrive, such as property plans or dangerous chemicals being stored. This helps to improve the safety of the firefighters and increases community safety.

Mike Jones, IT manager at Cheshire Fire and Rescue, said: “The more information we can provide our firefighters in advance of a fire call out the better prepared they can be and the more effective they will be in controlling the situation.

"By automating the updates and sending them wirelessly to our onboard computers we can be sure they hold the most up-to-date information available."

Staff personal access to the wifi is via a totally separate network to avoid compromising the security and integrity of the corporate network.

As part of the project Networks First also installed Cisco’s Intrusion Prevention System to better manage and deal with potential external network attacks.

Networks First provides a fully managed service from its networks operation centre in Redditch. From there it manages both the LAN and wireless LAN environments at the service's headquarters and 24 fire stations.