The rollout of the Availability and Messaging System (AMS) to volunteer stations is complete.

The 609th and final training took place this month with the Chatham Islands Volunteer Fire Brigade, and, as with so many brigades, it should prove to be a game-changer for the most isolated part of New Zealand.

AMS delivers accurate, real-time information about the availability of volunteers to respond to fires and emergencies. It also lets them know who is responding to a request to attend an incident so we can ensure we have the right people in the right place at the right time.

Prior to the AMS rollout for the Chathams, calls were taken by the Wellington Communication Centre via 111 from the island. ComCen created the incident in its CAD system, then manually phoned a phone number on the island and left a message, which in turn activated the siren at the station.

Once someone heard the siren, they would respond to the station, listen to the answer phone to obtain call details, then pull together a crew.

Now with AMS, ComCen triggers the incident, just like any other brigade in the country. AMS kicks into life – every single member receives full call details instantly and can indicate their attendance, providing visibility to all other members, as well as the ComCen. AMS also triggers the siren as a backup measure.

Achieving this rollout to more than 600 volunteer stations is a great achievement for the project team. The rollout started in early 2020, but was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

But what has come at the end of it is a system that has truly enabled these brigades to better serve their communities. 

AMS training at Omokoroa Volunteer Fire Brigade.


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