World Security Report2013-07-02 09:28:19

Co-funded by ESA; Good communications in a crisis is key!

Keeping all lines of communications open during a crisis is critical - and the Dublin Fire Brigade has shown how this can be done using satellite and hybrid technologies.

An emergency exercise in Malahide estuary, north of Dublin, Ireland, put the fire service's pilot information and communication system through its paces last month.

REACT, or Resource for Emergency services to Access Command and control data using satellite and hybrid Technologies, is a project co-funded by ESA's ARTES 3-4 satcom applications programme.

It provides secure and reliable exchange of information between emergency personnel on the scene and their command and control centre during a crisis and incidents such as car accidents.

REACT combines mobile phone technology with satcoms and the emergency service's communication system, TETRA. This ensures there is always an open link during a major incident, even if the phone network is not working or overloaded.

Thanks to broadband satcoms, the system provides a range of voice, data and video channels between the fire service personnel on the ground and the commanders in a central command and control room. This enables the controllers to coordinate the response using the information they are receiving from officers on the ground.

For the exercise, an Incident Command Unit was sent to the emergency scene, adapted with a Ka-band satellite dish and a CCTV camera to send and receive information and images.

The vehicle operates as a communications hub, providing realtime links through voice and video conferencing services from the scene to the command and control room.

This allows an operational picture of the incident to be shared between the scene commander and the command and control personnel, who are more efficient at delivering support to officers at the scene.

Source: ESA

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