Making firefighters safer and more productive – innovation in action

Fire engine UK
Date Published


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In a recent article, we told you about our successful delivery of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Fire and Rescue Project.

We used our expertise knowledge and collaborative skills to work with the MOD to transfer more than 500 MOD firefighters and deliver 14 new firefighting vehicles on time and within budget- despite the huge difficulties posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Since we took responsibility for the project in August 2019, we’ve used our expertise to support Defence Fire and Rescue, combining our decades of experience of working with the MOD with modern, cutting-edge technology.

One of the most ‘visible’ examples of our technological achievements is in the fire fighting vehicles that we started to deliver earlier this year to replace the MOD’s legacy vehicle fleet. We are procuring and delivering 128 new vehicles, as well as training both the MOD’s and our own firefighters to use them.

The technology that we’ve introduced is game-changing. Our newly-delivered high reach extendable turret vehicles have an extendable arm that’s capable of penetrating the skin of a burning aircraft before dousing the interior with water to put out fire and rapidly cool the interior. This creates more survivable conditions in the aircraft and protects firefighters - they can operate the system from within their fire engine rather than having to dismount and put their lives in danger.

We have also introduced IT systems that enable and improve services even further. For example, it is now possible to capture a huge range of operational and incident management data electronically, providing unprecedented levels of insight, intelligence and visibility of the project’s service delivery. This also gives MOD teams in remote sites and locations more understanding of their fire safety risks.

The data and insight being developed through our management information solution is already generating the evidence needed to help military risk holders to make investment decisions and create fire risk mitigation plans. The solution uses Microsoft Power BI to visualise and report on operational performance, which provides new support for collaboration and joint decision-making.

As well as delivering our IT systems, we’ve also provided handheld devices to make asset management and fire risk assessment more mobile. We’ve worked with our industry partners to develop a controlled and secure mobile device solution that is easy to set up and simple to use. This gives its users unprecedented levels of self service and control, reducing device and configuration issues and minimising support calls.

We’ve worked with the MOD to improve the Global Fire Station Log (GFSL). The GFSL includes everything from the completion of site checks to the reporting of response capability at each specific station, site or location. Together, we’ve introduced a digitised version of the GFSL, revolutionising data capture by digitising and storing records. This gives firefighting teams more time to save lives and protect property.

Digitising the GFSL, implementing Assure (a third-party product for capturing and reporting fire risk assessments in the field) and introducing software designed especially for fire safety advisors to use remotely are providing more current data than ever before. They’re allowing personal to make vital decisions more quickly and confidently.

Our industry-leading fire risk assessment and management experts head up and deliver the Integrated Risk Management Plans. They visit all relevant MOD locations to assess fire risks and report on how each can mitigate hazards, recommending detailed prevention and protection measures. These reports on residual risk influence how those sites respond to fire risks.

Finally, we’re implementing state-of-the-art training technology at our Fire Service College. Our class-leading new training and simulation assets provide our and MOD firefighters with more scenario-based training than ever before. Our introduction of virtual reality firefighting and incident command training will provide a safer experience for all those involved.

Expertise in MOD requirements and cutting-edge technology are part of our DNA at Capita, and our success is due largely to the unique opportunity offered by the Defence Fire and Rescue Project to combine these skillsets and passions. We’re already enjoying success with the MOD, and we look forward to enjoying even more as we progress, together.

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