First respondersCity of Seattle Fire Department improving firefighter, EMS responses

Published 16 May 2012

New communication system allows Seattle Fire Department to use new voice, video, and wireless by providing secure and fast switching between multiple networks

In Motion Technology announced that the City of Seattle Fire Department has deployed the company’s onboard Mobile Networking System to improve fire and EMS responses on the way to the scene and on-scene.  The system allows Seattle Fire to use new voice, video, and wireless by providing secure and fast switching between multiple networks.

In addition to fire suppression and emergency medical service, the City of Seattle Fire Department provides building inspections, fire code enforcement, tactical rescues, public education, and specialized units, including the hazardous materials response team, dive team, confined space rescue, heavy rescue, and marine emergency response teams.  The department responds to nearly 80,000 fire and medical incidents each year.  The department’s Medic One Program responds to approximately 45,000 Basic Life Support (BLS) alarms and 19,000 Advanced Life Support (ALS) alarms per year.

As part of city-wide public safety network, the fire department needed the ability to:

— centrally manage dispatch and emergency communications with multi-network and fast switching capability;

— leverage new mobile technology with increased bandwidth for video and audio;

— increase overall system security with two levels of device authentication, end-to-end VPN connection and data encryption;

— remotely handle fleet-wide software and file updates to mobile data computers (MDC);

— view in real-time pre-fire plans including building diagrams, bird’s eye views, hazardous materials, access and egress routes and fire control systems; and

— transmit audio and EKG files and in mass casualty situations and the ability to transmit bar codes and medical triage codes to the emergency room before patients are transferred.

“We have deployed In Motion Technology’s mobile networking system to improve patient care and response times as part of our commitment to provide the citizens of Seattle the best emergency and medical services possible,” said Leonard Roberts, IT director, City of Seattle Fire Department.

The onBoard Mobile Networking System aims to provide Seattle Fire with a communications system to extend the enterprise network to the vehicle fleet:

— The onBoard Mobile Gateway turns Seattle Fire and EMS vehicles into mobile wireless hotspots or a wireless access points (WAP), connecting  all wired and wireless devices in and around the vehicle over any wireless network with the ability to use multiple broadband networks.

— The onBoard Mobility Manager is a network management system that allows operations to manage and monitor the health of the Seattle Fire fleet including remote configuration, network coverage, vehicle diagnostic data, and fleet wide software updates and maintenance.

— The onBoard Connection Manager is a mobile-optimized VPN server, providing secure IP mobility and sub-second switching in a multi-network environment designed to provide continuous connections and enable the use of real-time applications as vehicles roam between multiple wireless networks.

“With 33 fire stations and over 60 vehicles including fire engines, ladder trucks, and medic units, we needed to have the ability to remotely monitor vehicle health, location, network connections and to accurately monitor and manage all mobile computing devices which is only possible with In Motion Technology’s onBoard Mobile Gateway,” said Roberts.

“The City of Seattle Fire Department initiative of creating a centrally managed wireless technology management system to reduce duplication and increased security is a credit to their coordination with the other Seattle agencies and a true benefit to the community,” said Tony Morris, In Motion Technology’s vice president of sales and marketing.