Infographics supports Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to streamline and enhance the Thames Valley Fire Control Service

Infographics today announced it has successfully streamlined and enhanced the mobilisation processes used by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) within the Thames Valley Fire Control Service.

By integrating FireWatch and Capita Vision, RBFRS can now automatically share intelligent vehicle availability data between systems, and remove manual processes.

This latest phase builds on work undertaken as part of the wider deployment of Infographics’ FireWatch Fire Service Management platform, which connects RBFRS’ data, back office teams and front office operational staff to deliver a ‘complete picture’ of live organisation status.

The integration provides a level of live, connected management information and increased efficiency not achievable with separate silo systems. The result is a reduction in administration and enhanced mobilisation process within Thames Valley Fire Control Service.

The FireWatch-to-Capita Vision integration includes sharing directly via FireWatch this information, and the impact of live changes on vehicle needs and availability, with data coming from across the following areas:

•     Real-time, integrated HR, Training, Fleet and Availability

•     Vehicle level availability status based on resource needs and priority calculated to-the-minute

•     Graphical County-wide Availability Map status and change notifications of the same data

•     Mobile-optimised client, with booking on/off duty facility and real-time status views

•     SMS-based workflows and booking on/off duty processes with crewing exception notifications for managers

RBFRS plan to deploy Infographics’ latest version of the FireWatch Capita Vision interface as part of a future FireWatch upgrade. This will deliver a bi-directional interface, with FireWatch processing live incident data from Capita Vision to provide a ‘closed loop’. It will also further streamline processes around time and attendance, and pay and maintenance of competency with event-related processes initiated automatically in the FireWatch system.

Jim Powell, Area Manager for Service Delivery at RBFRS said:

“Through the integration of our FireWatch and Capita Vision systems, we have streamlined some of the ways that data is shared and used in the organisation.

“We are committed to investing in information and communication technology that helps to improve the efficiency and resilience of our Service. This will help us to deliver a more effective service to the communities we serve.”

Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said:

“We are delighted to have assisted Royal Berkshire to successfully deliver this project. By working closely with multiple UK Fire Services and Capita to provide a standard set of bi-directional Mobilisation interfaces, we are able to enhance further the operations of our customers.

“FireWatch already connects departmental data, teams and processes to provide an integrated and accurate ‘big picture’ of resources and status. This same pre-calculated and integrated data is now available to Capita Vision and other Mobilisation systems, and the collection and processing of event-related data can also be greatly streamlined in the other direction.”


A state-of-the-art redevelopment of Newark Fire Station has been shortlisted for an award at the prestigious Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2019.

The new £3.0m Newark Fire Station took just over 12 months to construct and replaces the previous 1960s station. The new build includes office space, meeting rooms, fire engine bays and external training tower. The new facility includes several energy-saving features, including intelligent lighting and solar panels fitted to the roof, both of which will reduce future running costs.

Ian Pritchard, Assistant Chief Officer at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “To be shortlisted for this award is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved with the project.

“This was the first time we kept a full-time fire station operational whilst a new facility was built on the same site.

“This would not have been possible without the collaborative approach taken by Turner & Townsend, The Gelder Group and Maber Architects.”

Richard Cropley, District Manager for Newark and Sherwood said: “I think the station shows the Service’s commitment to serving the community in Newark for many years to come – with the station expected to have a life of 50 years.”

Mark Deakin, Director at Turner & Townsend in Nottingham, added: “It was great to have the opportunity to support the Fire Service in the development of Newark Fire Station. Through a true team effort, we were able to overcome the site’s challenges and ensure that the scheme could be delivered on time and within budget.”

The RICS Awards recognise excellence in the built environment and showcase the successes of RICS professionals and their impact on local communities. This year’s ceremony will take place at the prestigious Mercure Leicester The Grand Hotel in Leicester on Wednesday 15 May.

Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for control operator who saved a life

A control operator from Thames Valley Fire Control Service (TVFCS), whose quick-thinking saved a woman from a house fire, has been commended for her actions.

Michelle Peacock received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation of the Year at the Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service and Community Safety annual achievement evening at Blenheim Palace on Wednesday, 17 April.

In the early hours of 5 January 2019, Michelle took a call from a woman in distress, asking for firefighters to attend a fire at her house in Banbury. The resident had woken up to the sound of their smoke alarm as their front door had caught fire.

From the Thames Valley Fire Control Service, based in Calcot, Reading, Michelle rapidly mobilised the required fire appliances and was consistently reassuring to the caller, helping them remain calm.

Whilst doing this, Michelle sent additional information to her team. This was then passed to oncoming fire crews, so they were fully prepped to deal with the emergency.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Simon Furlong said: “The most impressive thing throughout the entire call was Michelle’s compassion, reassurance and professionalism. 

“She is a well valued member of the Thames Valley Fire Control Service. Her actions, on 5 January, undoubtedly saved a life.” 

Michelle, 32, from Wokingham, was just nine months into her role at TVFCS when the incident took place, having previously worked in a similar job for the ambulance service. She used all her training and experience to avert a more serious outcome.

She commented: “My training was still fresh in my mind, and we always have refreshers and in-house training taking place. I gave the woman fire survival guidance while she was in her bedroom, something which is drummed into us during training, because ensuring the person’s safety is  paramount.

“It’s good for Thames Valley Fire Control to be recognised, because our job is all about teamwork and being professional. This particular incident was in Oxfordshire but we serve the whole of the Thames Valley.” 

Thames Valley Fire Control Service, in Calcot, Reading, handles all fire and rescue emergency calls for the whole of the Thames Valley area, covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Royal Berkshire.

BAPCO 2019

The 26th BAPCO Annual Conference and Exhibition took place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. The 2019 event was co-located with TCCA’s Critical Communications Europe, which enabled even more topics to be covered to a wider European audience. A primary focus was the roll-out of major public safety networks themselves, most importantly the Emergency Service Network (ESN), a great deal of new discussion around how the technology is likely to be used.

Acting CEO of FirstNet, Ed Parkinson, kicked off day one, he discussed ‘global co-operation and co-ordination for public safety wireless programmes,’ giving an overview of the current adoption of FirstNet across the US, with the network having been up and running for around nine months.

Jason Karp started his presentation on the ‘smart connected ambulance’ by describing its benefits in relation to a hypothetical multi-vehicle accident scenario. These included the ability to live stream bodyworn video footage from the scene, instant access to medical details via the scanning of the patient’s driver’s licence and Bluetooth-connected stethoscopes allowing multiple parties to listen to their heartbeat. Karp stated, “I predict 100 per cent LTE adoption by public safety within 18 to 24 months.”

The start of day two began with its own keynote session, from ESN Programme Director Bryan Clark on the theme ‘2019: the year vision becomes reality’. The theatre was packed as he reiterated the reason for the roll-out of ESN in the first place, focusing on the benefits it will bring to emergency services personnel.

Karp’s presentation from day one was further expanded on day two by co-founder of The Public Safety Network (and former president of FirstNet), TJ Kennedy, in his presentation on ‘the Internet of Life Saving Things’. He stated: “I believe that we [public safety] need to change the model where we’re using older technology than most consumers and most enterprises. In the future – and I can’t predict what day that will be – when 6G and 7G arrive, public safety across the world should have access to those technologies.”

In addition to this, the Showcase Theatre provided an opportunity for visitors to gain advice from industry experts and suppliers about how certain products, services and resources could be used to enhance best practice in one’s organisation.

There was standing room only in the Showcase Theatre for Mike Isherwood, Managing Director from APD Communications Ltd who held a session on ‘managing demand in public safety control rooms.’ Isherwood emphasised how managing control room demand is one of the biggest operational challenges faced by the emergency services and dived into the challenges and opportunities it presents.

New for 2019, the Drone Zone became home to the live demonstrations from Keith Robinson, Managing Director at Airvis Ltd. A drone was linked up to the live BAPCO TV stream and footage was streamed on screens across the exhibition, across social media platforms and on dedicated channels.

Dr Pippa Malmgren, Co-Founder of H Robotics focussed on ‘the aerial revolution: the transition of toy drones to robotic tools’ in the Drone Zone. Malmgren highlighted how technology in this sector has rapidly developed and the impact of drones on public safety and how they assist in saving lives.

The show floor also featured the Networking Lounge, Connected Vehicles, Members’ Lounge and Press Lounge, as well as over 102 suppliers, charities and organisations keen to speak with visitors about their needs. The wide range of exhibitors demonstrated some of the most innovative and cutting-edge products, services and resources, with some even having exclusive on-stand show offers and competitions. Sponsors exhibiting included Motorola Solutions, Samsung, APD Communications Ltd, Ericsson, Frequentis and Hexagon, Tait Communications and 3tc Software.

Nick Ross, Head of Criminal Justice and Public Safety for Samsung said “BAPCO is the main event for us and we get all the right people in the room over two days and have the best conversations.”

Matt Govett, Managing Director of MA Exhibitions, said: “BAPCO 2019 has been an absolutely incredible event. We are delighted as the organisers to be able to work with BAPCO, putting on their biggest show to date, we have seen a record number of exhibitors, record number of visitors and increased amounts of content across all the streams. There is a great buzz around the show, loads of positivity and we’re really looking forward to how we can build on it going forward into next year.”

Ian Thompson, CEO of British APCO, said: “BAPCO 2019 was a very successful event with increased numbers of visitors leading to higher levels of participation and interaction both in the conference and with exhibitors. We continue to build the association and the event to help our members meet the challenges encountered daily in critical communications and public safety technology. Being at BAPCO 2020 helps you to do the same.”

BAPCO 2020 will take place at the Ricoh Arena, 10-11 March 2020.

A firefighter has told how she worked to protect the public at a devastating fire that claimed the lives of hundreds of people

A firefighter has told how she worked to protect the public at a devastating fire that claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

Clara Kay was a volunteer firefighter in her native Paraguay when the tragedy struck at Ycuá Bolaños supermarket in Asunción on August 1, 2004.

It led to the tragic deaths of 300 members of the public. A further 200 people managed to escape with the assistance of emergency services.

Clara recalls the horrors and vivid memories from her homeland 14 years ago that continue to haunt her to this day.

The mum, who is now a full time firefighter living in Dunfermline, Fife, spoke as The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service prepares to launch a national recruitment campaign.

She said: “I couldn’t sleep for a week – it was all I could see when I closed my eyes.

“I had only been volunteering as a firefighter for about a year and had never seen anything like it – it wasn’t anything I had trained for.

“The people who survived were underneath the dead and there were so many bodies, including some children.

“We had to move them to a temporary mortuary which was just horrific. We did get trauma counselling afterwards and that did help a bit.”

Clara eventually left her native Paraguay and her job as an educational psychologist and volunteer firefighter after meeting her husband.

But she had to try four times to land her dream job with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The mum of two, aged 38, said: “When I came to Scotland I applied to join but I failed the bleep test – it was all so different from being a volunteer firefighter in Paraguay.

“It was easy to get into the Paraguan service but I had a lot to learn here to get through the tough process. We need to hit the standard to ensure we are safe to respond and protect the public.

“I was determined so I worked on every weakness which had been highlighted through previous attempts to get through. I went to college to improve my maths and I also improved my English.

“My husband David is in the Service so he gave me lots of encouragement and support.”

Clara, who also volunteers with the Coastguard, left her homeland in 2009 to be with David.  They met when he came over to Paraguay with volunteer organisation International Fire and Rescue Association (IFRA) and dated for two years long distance before deciding to get married and move to Scotland.

She said: “It was hard leaving a job I loved and my friends and family but I love Scotland – especially the autumns and summers.

“This is my home now and I love it.

“Myself and David are on opposite shifts which is great for child care.  Sometimes we have to swap over in the car park when he starts his dayshift and I come off nightshift.

“We are still able to spend plenty of time together so it works well.”

Clara encourages others to think about signing up with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

She said: “I would recommend a career as a firefighter because it is a very rewarding and fulfilling career.

“Faith, determination and hard work were key to my success.  I honestly think it is the best job in the world.

“My kids are proud to say I am a firefighter and I am proud to be one.”

If you are inspired by Clara’s story and would like to have a career at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, visit  /work-with-us/wholetime-firefighter-recruitment.aspx

Our recruitment campaign opened on 21 March and everyone has several weeks to apply.

London Fire Brigade appoints two new Deputy Commissioners

London Fire Brigade has today appointed Assistant Commissioners Richard Mills and Andy Roe as its new Deputy Commissioners.

Current Deputy Commissioner and Director for Safety and Assurance Steve Apter leaves the Brigade next month to become the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service. Tom George, the Brigade’s Deputy Commissioner and Director of Operations, retires from the Brigade in November after 30 years of service.

Richard Mills, Assistant Commissioner  for Operational Policy and Assurance, will take over as the Deputy Commissioner and Director for Safety and Assurance on April 15 and Andy Roe, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Stations, will take up his new post as Deputy Commissioner and Director of Operations in November.

Richard joined the Brigade in 1992 serving as a firefighter at Leytonstone Fire Station before serving as a leading firefighter at Barking then Hornchurch fire stations. He rose through the ranks, before beginning his current role in 2016. 

Richard said: “I am delighted to take on this role and am proud to be working alongside the current and incoming team. I am looking forward to being part of the senior management team, leading the Brigade through the challenges and successes we face in the future.”

Andy joined the Brigade in 2002 having previously served with the British Army. He started as a firefighter at Clerkenwell Fire Station and served at a number of inner London fire stations and boroughs. He became an Assistant Commissioner in 2017. 

Andy said: “It is a privilege to serve Londoners and I am incredibly grateful to be appointed as the Deputy Commissioner and Director of Operations. There are so many fantastic men and women within the organisation and it is an honour to be able to lead them.”

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said:  “I’d like to congratulate both Richard and Andy on their appointments as Deputy Commissioners and I have no doubt they will be fantastic leaders of the London Fire Brigade.

“I would like to thank Steve Apter for all his hard work and support over the last three years and wish him all the best as he takes on an exciting new challenge in Hampshire. Tom George will continue his excellent work in his current role until he retires in November.”

Waysafe Systems Safe Passage Engineering

Following the steady rise of the Waysafe illuminated marking system which is currently used by many Fire Brigades and USAR teams across the UK and Europe, we were asked if it was possible to put some form of directional indication onto or into the illuminated cable, and following months of trial and development we solved the problem and the directional Waysafe was born. This version of the Waysafe offers the ability to increase or decrease the speed of travel for the directional indication, increase or decrease the light levels, and if necessary, change the direction of travel.

With the success of the series two directional Waysafe product across many market sectors we were again asked if we could build a guide line which offered the same capability as the current B.A. Line, but included illumination as well.

LGI is now pleased to announce the launch of the Illuminated Guide Line. This 60m unit is contained within its own bag which can be worn by the user; the cable can be pulled from the bag and tied off as usual. The illuminated line is fitted with indicators which are fixed on the cable, so in the rare situation where power to the cable was lost, the user could simply follow the cable using the same system that is currently in operation.

New LGI Flood/area lighting system with exchangeable batteries

• DUAL SYSTEM 2in1 with exchangeable battery pack – use both rechargeable with battery or with power supply from the battery charger mounted directly to the lamp

• Integrated backup battery functionality

• IP67 – waterproof for use in tough environments

With the new, innovative SPS system you will never experience being completely without light and left in total darkness. No matter how limited your access is to power supply the SPS ensures that you always have the necessary light to carry out your job. SPS provides complete freedom, flexibility and maximum work efficiency.

We also offer a New app with extended functionality; theBLUETOOTH light control features can control up to four NOVA lamps. The light control makes it possible to turn on/off the lamp from your phone and adjust the light: Dimmer light output into 5 levels 10%-100%, Switch on/off renaming individual lamps, assign pin code, Check battery level, Control up to 4 lamps output.

For more information on this product range telephone Sales on 01249 819638, email:

To talk to one of or sales team.

FireWatch consolidates as market-leader with latest release – connecting resource planning, response and prevention for complete visibility

Infographics this month announced the launch of the latest version of its FireWatch® solution, the leading software used by the UK Fire and Rescue Service to plan, manage and optimise resources.

The FireWatch v.7.8 release – including a full user experience (UX) redesign – can connect resource planning, response and prevention to reveal what the company describes as ‘the complete picture’ of Fire and Rescue operations.

The product launch coincides with the ‘go live’ of its new FireWatch marketing website (, which is packed with interactive client videos, augmented reality, role-based clips, and animated ‘explainers’ – enabling clients to communicate their first-hand experience of the software’s transformational qualities.

With around 20 of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services currently users of its FireWatch solution, the company affirms it is seeking to consolidate its position through the delivery of this major new release package, and ensure its solutions stay at the forefront of technology.

Meeting HMICFRS, cloud hosting and modern FRS requirements

According to Infographics, key highlights of FireWatch v.7.8 include a new, intuitive Web-based interface, driven by actionable graphical dashboards that show information specific to the user’s role.

For senior management and departmental managers, for example, this can translate into real-time monitoring and reporting on IRMP, and helping to meet new HMICFRS expectations and reporting requirements.

For Fire Fighters and end users, the new release delivers the information they need from multiple sources in a form that is easily consumable – and directly actionable. Additionally, as they can access it from anywhere, at any time, it promotes a greater level of self-service and ownership. This is further enhanced by Microsoft Azure Cloud managed services.

Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, explains: “With our suite of connected solutions, we can now help join up the planning, emergency response and prevention activities in a way not previously possible.

“This supports services in delivering on a truly integrated risk management plan, and targeting activities and resource where they will provide greatest benefit.

“Within the context of new HMICFRS expectations and reporting requirements, we can also help them to meet their objectives, identify areas that are not on track in real-time, and report back in a structured, accurate and streamlined way.”

Customers in focus – Mid and West Wales and Lincolnshire

A key part of the success of FireWatch is that we create it in partnership with the Fire and Rescue community, says Infographics.

Steve McLinden, Transformation 2020 Digital Project Manager with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, describes how his organisation has seen significant benefits since the implementation of FireWatch.

“We’ve already seen processes such as on-call payment go from 142 steps for one single payment going down to about 30. Through occupational health we’ve removed 97% of steps and processes that involve paper, so we’re seeing significant improvements and benefits there,” Steve explains.

Dan Moss, the Prevention & Protection Group Manager for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, has similarly seen measurable business improvements since deploying the FireWatch Prevent + Protect solution.

“It allows our business support to have that integrated solution to scheduling jobs, it links directly to our advocates and CFP inspectors’ Outlook calendars, allowing for that smooth pathway in relation to incoming jobs and outgoing jobs,” adds Dan.

FireWatch v.7.8 product highlights in focus

Infographics summarises the major new aspects of the new FireWatch release as:

  • A dashboard and KPI-driven user experience, with individual, manager, department and service-wide views and tasks
  • Ability to connect planning, prevention and response systems with next-generation functions
  • Real-time visibility of performance in line with elements of IRMP and HMICFRS requirements
  • A Shift Marketplace to advertise and fulfil resource and skill deficits
  • FRS-wide resource planning, with new crewing analysis mode in the Availability Map
  • Dynamic organisation charting, modelling and establishment analysis

The solution supports senior management, human resources, availability, intelligent response, training and development, prevention and protection, hydrants, assets and fleet, health and safety, and workforce self-service.

A significant benefit is that it can integrate and connect these teams, departments and systems. In some Fire and Rescue Services, these elements can be disjointed – which causes issues with data quality and processes efficiency, and prevents the ‘complete picture’ from being uncovered.

Although clients can implement elements of FireWatch independently, a key driver behind the latest v.7.8 release, the company states, is to bring together accurate, relevant, real-time data from every department, for total visibility.

This data can then help improve employee and public safety, guide intelligent response and target prevention activities more efficiently.

Business transformation in 2019

Infographics is focussing its ambitions on converting current FireWatch prospects for UK and international FRS expansion – but also looking to move into other closely aligned market sectors during 2019.

In addition, the company will be appearing centre stage at a number of forthcoming industry events, including taking on a speaker and exhibitor slot as a Silver Sponsor of this year’s LGA Fire Conference and Event (March 12-13).

Fire Investigation Teams Choose Tiger PIDs

An increasing number of the country’s Fire Investigation departments are adding a key tool to their investigation kit. The Tiger VOC detector provides accurate measurements of hydrocarbon compounds – such as those found in petrol, alkanes and cycloalkanes and other accelerants – in just two seconds.

A handheld PID, the Tiger has a dynamic range from ppb to 20,000ppm and can detect over 700 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toxic compounds. It also offers outstanding resistance to humidity and contamination, thanks to its patented fence-electrode technology.

Dogs can detect traces of ignitable substances quickly, but teams are now able to identify and the presence of substances on the spot, leading to dramatic improvements in the accuracy of site investigations.

Where a dog can identify the location of a substance, the Tiger accurately tells the operator what concentration of accelerant is present, offering conclusive proof whether the quantity is enough to be the cause of ignition.

Exclusively available from Shawcity in the UK and Ireland, the Tiger’s key advantages are its accurate calibration and ability to store quantifiable readings for use as evidence. Another fundamental issue Tiger overcomes is that, unlike our furry friends, there is no danger of contaminating a potential crime scene.

Most investigation teams will have access to one dog, whereas any number of Tigers can be deployed on-site to help achieve a timely conclusion. Users need no specialist technical knowledge and competence training is provided by Shawcity.

The Tiger runs on either long life, rechargeable Li-ion or alkaline battery packs, ensuring continuous performance for up to 24 hours. Thanks to its ATEX rating, batteries can be replaced safely in potentially explosive environments.

Tiger can also be supplied with a fire investigation kit which includes a 1m flexible probe for hard-to-reach places, bump test pen, travel charge adaptor, exhaust barb to collect bag samples for further analysis, spare filters and a rugged carry case.

The teams already using Tiger also appreciate the flexibility of ownership alongside our extensive hire fleet, which allows them to react quickly on a case-by-case basis and ensure they have the right kit available, by the next day if required. 

For further information, please contact the Marketing Department at Shawcity Ltd:

Tel: 01367

Staffordshire Fire And Rescue Service Recognised in Moorlands Heroes Awards

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), along with partner agencies and the communities of the Staffordshire Moorlands, have been honoured for their efforts in the face of last years wildfires.

The community awards were held by the Leek Post and Times, sponsored by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, at Alton Towers on Thursday January 31 and saw unsung heroes from around the Staffordshire Moorlands recognised.

Firefighters Antony Ball, who is wholetime and on-call Watch Manager at Leek Community Fire Station, and Derren Taaffe, who is an on-call Crew Manager at Leek, attended the awards on behalf of all colleagues who were involved in dealing with the fires last year. The Service was revealed as the winner of the Special Recognition award category.

During the summer of 2018 three large wildfires at Dimmingsdale, Alton, an area of moorlands between Thorncliffe and Shawfields, near the Mermaid pub, and the Roaches, near Leek, damaged thousands of hectares of beautiful Staffordshire Moorlands countryside. The fires commanded hundreds of hours of firefighting, committed partner agencies for days, threatened nearby homes and destroyed the habitat of local wildlife, which is still recovering.

Antony said: “Both of us attended the three large fires in the Moorlands, along with many other smaller incidents during the summer months.

“We’ve never experienced a summer with such a high number of incidents; the hours were long and the work physically gruelling. Many of us worked over and above our shifts and on-call hours so to be thanked in this way is incredible, we’re very humbled by this recognition.

“We’re really honoured to have been able to accept this award on behalf of all at SFRS that were involved in tackling the wildfires last year, including wholetime and on-call firefighters, fire control and other support staff, and our volunteers. “It must also be said that resolving the incidents was a team effort and would not have been possible without help from all our partner agencies, local businesses and residents, neighbouring fire services and members of the Fire Operations Group who rallied together.”