Volunteer Rural Fire Forces (VRFFs) will be online and connected with the rest of the organisation by September this year. This will ensure all our volunteer rural fire forces have the ICT equipment they need to operate as part of a national fire force in their community.

From mid-June we are delivering to each VRFF a Microsoft Windows tablet, a printer, and where suitable, a television or portable projector for training purposes.

Our first step was to conduct an audit of what infrastructure and technology the VRFFs currently use and what they require to do their job. Between December 2017 and March 2018, we visited each VRFF region to identify what computer hardware and software, printer capability, computer training equipment, network connectivity (VPN, Wi-F), telephony, radios and turnout systems, paging, and security access were already in place. This was not done before as, prior to 1 July 2017, VRFF infrastructure and technology was funded and supported by different organisations.

The survey of 209 VRFFs revealed:

  • 90% have power
  • 28% have computer equipment, of which 12% is loaned
  • 27% have internet connectivity
  • 25% have a printer
  • 43% have a landline phone
  • 21% have a TV for training purposes
  • 42% have indicated they would benefit from video calling (SFB).

The results enabled the Regions to determine what fit-for-purpose infrastructure would be allocated. The much needed infrastructure allows the VRFFs to:

  • connect to Fire and Emergency New Zealand systems
  • access training materials and information
  • access electronic versions of policies, forms, and guidelines to support the operation of the fire force
  • provide information electronically for national reporting by the fire force
  • replace paper based recording of incidents
  • perform checks and balances electronically, such as recording attendance and reporting activities
  • be informed about what is happening in Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

The rollout and installation is planned to start in Region 5 from 11 June. The rollout in Regions 1 and 2 will start from 25 June, and Regions 3 and 4 will start from the 9th of July.

A face-to-face training package will be delivered to each of the VRFFs. 

For more details, go to the VRFF ICT project pages on the Portal.

Some of the ICT equipment being rolled out from June includes a printer, tablet, and desk.

 

The selected tablet is a Windows Surface Pro LTE in a rugged, water proof case with a hand strap to make it easy to use in the field.

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