Tetra | 2019-02-07

Cambridgeshire Fire Service Connects Panasonic Rugged Tablets to TETRA

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service in the UK has equipped 50 fire vehicles with Panasonic rugged tablets. These are used as mobile data terminals for vital information on emergency calls and for asset management of equipment and inventory.

The fire service has installed 13-in Panasonic Toughbook CD-D1 tablets in the front cabs of its fire vehicles, permanently mounted and connected to the existing Tetra network. It has also deployed smaller, lighter 10-in Panasonic FZ-G1 Toughpad tablets in the back of the vehicles for use by firefighters inside and outside of the vehicles at the scene of incidents. These smaller tablets are also used for managing equipment and inventory day-to-day, using integrated Bluetooth-connected barcode readers.

John Barlow, the communications project manager and a former station commander with 35 years of experience in the service, is responsible for modernising Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service's frontline communications devices.

"We have invested to change all the existing MDTs to a more agile device to allow the crews to work more efficiently and smartly," he explained. "The Panasonic devices are ideal for all the conditions we work in. We can read the device in bright sunlight and it is built to be used outside and in wet conditions without any problems. Feedback from the firecrews has been overwhelmingly positive and that's partly because they were very involved in choosing the device."

The roll-out follows a 6-month field trial with one fire vehicle fully kitted out with the new Panasonic devices and testing the applications and software.