Smarter emergency services communications

Thursday, 09 September, 2010

With communication and inter-agency cooperation central to the findings of the Royal Commission enquiry into the February 2009 Victorian bushfires disaster, addressing the need for smarter public safety communications systems has never been more important to the Australian community.

That’s according to Naomi Brown, the CEO of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) which has today announced an official partnership with Motorola Solutions to promote smarter communication and knowledge creation for emergency services personnel.

“We represent a large number of critical emergency services organisations (ESO) and public safety agencies that are collectively committed to protecting Australian lives,” says Brown. “This includes more than 30,000 career personnel and 200,000 volunteers, all of whom work in dynamic and challenging environments that require constant management and strategic support.

“Working closely with organisations like Motorola, that not only have the domain expertise in mission-critical public safety communications but are also intrinsically tied to the interests of the public safety community in Australia, is an essential part of our strategy to nurture and support knowledge creation and evidence-based decision-making for every one of our members and the communities they serve.”

The 12-month partnership will see Motorola become closely aligned with AFAC’s Knowledge Series events, to be held around Australia to promote professional development opportunities for interaction, thinking and the adoption of new knowledge across the emergency services sector. Subject areas may include protecting firefighters, interoperability for a national approach, effective communication for incident management teams, leadership in emergency management and crisis communications for emergency management leaders.

The partnership will also see the creation of an annual Knowledge Innovation Award to recognise the achievements of AFAC member agencies and individual members in the advancement of knowledge management in their agency or jurisdiction. Prizes will include a trip to a public safety conference of the winners’ choice.

Dr Michael N’Guyen, General Manager, Government and Public Safety, Motorola Solutions Australia, says Motorola has earned recognition for benchmarking public safety communications in Australia by establishing and managing the first-of-its-kind emergency services two-way radio and data services networks for the Victorian government.

“Next-generation public safety communications is all about the ability of emergency services organisations to get relevant and timely information to their field officers as quickly and efficiently as possible, while filtering out the erroneous information that inevitably gets thrown into the mix,” he adds. “But, most of all, it’s about fostering a collective attitude among agencies that need to share time-critical information and communicate securely across large geographies, as is typical in Australia. This partnership shows a real commitment on the part of AFAC to embrace next-generation public safety communications as part of its mandate, and continue the work we, as a company, have been doing for decades to support and uplift the public safety industry in Australia.”

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