M2ZSF is the Home Office allocated Radio Call Sign for Tayside Fire Brigade's Control Room. Over the radio control call themselves Fire Control on all transmissions.
The Control Room is the heart of the Brigade and like the human body the Brigade could not function without it.
1975 Controls at Blackness Road, Dundee (1969) and Perth (date?).
1979 Blackness Road, Dundee.
1994? Separate Building at MacAlpine Road, Dundee. Photo
Officer in Charge
1978 SCO J. B. S. Mcfarlane
1978 1Senior Control Operator
2 Leading Control Operators
16 Control Operators
1991 1 Fire Control Officer
4 Senior Control Operators
4 Leading Control Operators
9 Control Operators
March 1979? Centralisation of the control at Perth along with the other control into a single Control Room at Blackness Road.
The present Command and Control Centre at MacAlpine Road has three operating positions and one supervisory position plus a training room.
OBSOLETE EQUIPMENT ON WAY OUT
Early next year Tayside Fire brigade’s new command and control system goes ‘on stream’ .Work on the new system, to be housed in purpose built Control Headquarters in Dundee, began in 1986 and is described in this paper.
By Fmr DEREK MARR
Tayside’s new command and control system features latest technology
Faced with the growing obsolescence
of existing equipment and the need to integrate command. control and management
information systems. Tayside Fire Brigade realised in 1986 that the time had
come to reappraise all aspects of communications, electronic data acquisition
and transmission and the necessary accommodation.
Pre-planning started then and in 1989 a project team consisting of brigade personnel with input from regional council support departments was set up to consider the way forward.
In addition to the growing obsolescence of communications equipment and mobilising software the current control accommodation, which was opened in 1970. was originally designed to house VF system A and card index cabinets. It was therefore totally unsuitable for a modern computerised command and control system.
Tayside Fire Brigade protects an area of some 3,000 square miles with a population in the region of 392,000. There are six wholetime stations, 15 retained and four volunteer with an establishment of 409 wholetime, 298 retained and 38 volunteer officers and firefighters. The brigade deals with approximately 15,000 emergency calls per year and this is rising in line with current trends.
It was decided that the new command
and control system would be housed in a purpose-built building adjacent to a
wholetime fire station and divisional headquarters in Dundee.
This building was designed to accommodate the latest command and control, communications and management information systems and provide scope for future upgrading. It incorporates facilities for management of major disasters and protracted incidents in addition to modern facilities for fire control staff.
Following the production of a detailed operational requirement by the project team, tenders were invited for the replacement command and control system in early 1992. After extensive discussion and evaluation of the proposals from interested companies a short list of three was drawn up from whom detailed tenders were sought.
Following further appraisal the contract was awarded in March 1993 to Fortek Computers Ltd of Gosport who will act as the prime contractor for the supply of software and hardware and assume responsibility for the management of the entire project.
As the prime contractor, it will be responsible for all sub contractors, which for this bid includes the major manufacturers British Telecom, Philips Communications Systems, Multitone Communication Systems, Cyfas Restbury International and ASC Telecom.
Value of contract
The contract, valued at £1.3
million, will provide Tayside with Fortek’s Fires III central mobilising and GIS
systems and, the Philips DX3000 integrated switch for its new Control
Headquarters at Macalpine Road, Dundee.
Tayside will also be installing the latest out station computer equipment to all its stations with Kilostream networks to the wholetime stations and radio bearer to retained stations.
The control room has four main objectives:
• To receive emergency calls.
• To mobilise the most suitable operational resources to an incident as quickly as possible.
• To provide information in support to the operational resources dealing with the incident.
• To provide and maintain up to date relevant information.
The system to be installed comprises a number of key elements:
1 Command and control system.
2 Telephone/radio call handling system.
3 Communications network.
4 Fire station callout equipment.
5 Resource availability display.
6 Paging systems.
7 Geographical information system.
8 Digital voice logging.
The Fires III system will provide the incident receipt, dispatch, logging and monitoring facilities as specified by the brigade and mobilise resources at out stations. The GIS system will interface to the mobilising system and give a visual representation of the region showing complete resource locations, which will be automatically updated in the computer as the incident progresses.
At the heart of the system the hardware configuration proposed for the central mobilising system is a dual ICL DRS6000 Spark/Risk model L440 running Unix version 5.4. The system is modular in design, providing flexible interface to existing facilities and allows for the addition of new facilities as demanded by future changes to the brigade’s operational requirements.
The configurations proposed offer a high degree of resilience and an upgrade path that will cater for all the projected increases in the brigade’s workload and capabilities to support the future enhancements likely to be required during the lifetime of the system.
The operator/supervisor’s interface will be via a powerful 486.33 MHz Compaq PCs. In addition to providing a comfortable human computer interface, these workstations will afford the brigade enormous flexibility to evolve operating procedures with the minimum of impact on users. The integrated communication systems (ICCS) proposed is the DX3000 ‘touch screen’ system supplied by Philips. This equipment encompasses the most recent advantages in digital technology and is compliant with the Home Office C3 specification.
The ICCS software switch is a central component in the proposed integrated radio, telephony and communications network.
The DX3000 switch will interface with the brigade’s existing multi-channelled FM radio system with minimal disruption and equipment alterations and will interface to the proposed BT Kilostream digital network via standard terminations.
The latest touch-screen surface
acoustic wave technology is used for the operator’s work station to provide a
simple but reliable user interface for all radio and telephone circuits. The
screen presentation is designed to meet the twin objectives of operational
efficiency with the minimum operator fatigue.
A key factor of the DX3000 is its modular design which will enable the future expansion and system enhancement to be carried out without the need for major operation interruption. To safeguard against any failure in the switch an independent fallback system is proposed which provides full control over the radio and telephone using conventional PBX consoles and an M87 radio controller unit.
The proposed communications network is the British Telecom Kilostream with channels between the command and control centre and all six of the wholetime operational stations. The Kilostream network will provide three functions between all wholetime stations:
• Transfer of mobilisating data.
• Transfer of administrative data.
• Desk to desk telephony between all whole-time stations and departments.
The primary communication bearer to the retained stations will be the brigade’s existing radio network with hard copy printers supplying the address of the incidents. Linked with the station equipment will be industry-standard PC being supplied by Fortek with its out station software which will implement the recently specified Home Office communications protocols for mobilising messages. The PC configured with industrial-standard communication and interface cards will be capable of controlling and monitoring all station equipment used for mobilising appliances and crews and interrogating the MIS side of the central computing systems.
It is intended that this will be developed in the future to carry out administrative functions by linking all meetings to brigade and divisional headquarters.
The Multitone Firecoder alert system will operate the tone pagers at retained stations with senior officers using Multitone alpha-numeric pagers on a wide area paging system which covers the whole of the Tayside Region. This allows officers to travel anywhere within the region and still be easily contactable by fire control -
The maintenance of most of the equipment will be carried out by Tayside Region’s radio workshops and the Department of Information Processing Services who will continue to provide a 24-hour service to the brigade throughout the year.
It is hoped the new computerised command and control system will go live early in 1994, and take the brigade through into the 21st Century.
(Fire magazine, Scottish Feature, August 1993. Page 16.)
If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.
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