AF&RS and Airbus pioneer new Incident Command Software

Command UnitAvon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) and Airbus have pioneered new Incident Command software in response to Grenfell and service requirements.

Developed in collaboration from the outset, SAFEcommand Incident Command software is the first step for AF&RS in fully digitising the incident ground by bringing together operational information, mapping, GPS data, communications and real-time tracking. 

The new software is now fully operational on AF&RS’ new state-of-the-art Command Unit and will also allow simultaneous communication to Mobile Date Terminals (MDT) across the Service’s vehicles and officers.

As the software develops, this will reduce the need for radio messages, and can instead be used to seamlessly disseminate actions and information to those who need it across the fire ground.

Working in collaboration with Airbus has allowed AF&RS to customise the software to its own needs, whilst also referring to the National Operational Guidance Incident Command documents to ensure compliance.

While a complicated concept, Airbus has provided the digital backing to make it a reality.

This will mean that should buildings need evacuating, the relevant sector commanders can be made aware; approaching vehicles can be tracked and told rendezvous locations; and an electronic roll call can be taken to improve crew safety.

The software also gives a thorough and detailed action and decision log to ensure that public safety remains a priority throughout major incidents which can sometimes last for days or weeks at a time.

The software also provides an electronic organisation chart and displays tactical modes for both individual sectors and or the overall incident as required.

The new software already links to response vehicles across the Service via MDTs but future development will allow for greater integration with officers mobile phones and partner agencies.

Ben Thompson, Special Projects Station Manager for AF&RS, said: “This is a brilliant step forward for us as a Service and is the first step to completely digitising the incident ground.”

“In the past, we have worked with various companies on incident command software and they have always over-promised and under-delivered.

“With this, we are able to fully upgrade and roll out our new Command Unit and begin to embed new processes and safeguards across the Service.”

“With our two key priorities being to keep our Communities Safe and the Service Strong, this more than delivers on both fronts. We’ve been ambitious in our approach and will easily see the long term benefits.”

Sean Perry, Risk Intelligence Watch Manager, added: “Airbus has created a system that is configurable in so many ways.

“This enables it to be versatile enough to be continually updated with new developments and features as well as allowing AF&RS to customise it to its own requirements.”

Working on the project for three years, Airbus has supported AF&RS every step of the way and future possibilities are endless.

With continued and future software development there will also be the capability to integrate live Met Office weather updates, live drone feeds and personnel tracking.

It will also allow for integration into non-operational based work, such as modernising the risk inspection and audit process on buildings across the service area.

Chris Lumb, Incident Command Project Lead at Airbus, added: “Working in collaboration with AF&RS allowed us to understand exactly what was required from our new generation SAFEcommand Incident Command software, whilst also ensuring that the future needs of fire and rescue services can be accommodated.

“AF&RS was integral in ensuring the successful deployment of the software and we look forward to continuing to work together on future innovations.”