Issued: 7 March 2016
Drones are the latest weapon in the fight against fire, chemical spills and natural disasters, providing firefighters with real-time images of areas too dangerous access and enabling rapid damage assessments.
Two new drones are part of a multi-million-dollar technology rollout to Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW), which also includes two custom-built mobile command centres and the installation of more than 180 mobile data terminals in fire trucks across NSW.
At a demonstration of the new technology in St Ives today, Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said the drones, mobile data terminals and mobile command centres put Fire & Rescue NSW at the cutting edge of emergency management.
"Firefighters are forced to make life and death decisions, under extreme pressure, and often with very little information," Mr Elliott said.
"The NSW Government is investing in the best technology available to help firefighters make those decisions easier and faster and better protect our communities."
FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said the mobile data terminals give firefighters fast access to live weather information, pre-incident plans, navigation and maps of hydrants, electricity, gas and drainage while enroute to emergencies.
The mobile command centres were custom designed by FRNSW for incident management teams to work from at large and complex incidents and are equipped with radio, live video feeds, high-speed satellite, 4G communications, a weather station, outdoor widescreens, and retractable sunshades.
"Each vehicle has high speed internet and a 100-metre Wi-Fi bubble which could be invaluable to communities cut off from technology following a catastrophic fire or storm event," Commissioner Mullins said.
"This new technology improves the information available for first responders and will ensure that we remain a world class fire, rescue and hazmat service.