Spain’s Andalusian fire authority fast-tracks deployment
Spain’s Andalusian fire authority fast-tracks deployment of Globalstar SPOT Gen3 satellite messengers to safeguard firefighters amid Covid-19 crisis
Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. (NYSE American: GSAT), and the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, announces that 550 SPOT Gen3 satellite-enabled safety devices have been deployed to safeguard and track firefighters across the vast expanse of Andalusia in southern Spain.
For this rapidly-delivered project, SPOT Gen3 satellite messengers are the backbone of an advanced fire management technology platform from wildfire solutions specialist Technosylva to monitor and protect the region’s fire response teams and vehicles.
This was a particularly urgent requirement by INFOCA, the administrative authority for forest and wildfire management, a department of the Junta de Andalucia, the local government for this region. INFOCA needed a fast deployment of a far-reaching, reliable tracking system to monitor and protect firefighters as Spain deals with the many complications and risks created by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
INFOCA is one of the largest fire authorities in Europe with 5,000 response personnel. Andalusia is Spain’s most populous region with eight million inhabitants and several million tourists throughout the year. Fire is a major problem in Andalusia, its climate always subject to the extreme influences of the Sahara Desert. With its rugged and mountainous terrain, human exposure to fire risk is very high.
Along with the need to provide 24/7 operational safety to firefighters in this potentially volatile environment, Spain has been dramatically affected by this year’s Covid-19 crisis. Since the outbreak began, INFOCA has been collaborating with other emergency services to deploy measures intended to limit the virus’ spread, and it has engaged in extensive prevention activities to protect the public. For instance, INFOCA’s fire equipment has been deployed to help with disinfection operations.
Joaquin Ramirez Cisneros, Principal Consultant at Technosylva, explains: “INFOCA was very clear – this requirement was very urgent because of Covid-19.”
Technosylva provides sophisticated fire behaviour analysis and management software. Fire authority operations teams can precisely track firefighters’ locations, via a user-friendly display of GPS positions in near real-time via the Technosylva fiRespons platform, a wildfire decision support system.
Thanks to the pre-integration and smooth inter-operation between fiResponse and SPOT Gen3, the deployment for INFOCA was able to be completed in record time, in a matter of weeks. INFOCA already had confidence in the capabilities of Technosylva and SPOT because in July 2015, Junta de Castilla La Mancha fire authority selected Technosylva and SPOT Gen3 devices to safeguard its fire response teams in the neighbouring region.
“To keep crews safe, it is critical to accurately and reliably monitor where the firefighters are at all times, in relation to the engines, pumps and other equipment,” says Ramirez Cisneros. If a firefighter needs help urgently, with the single press of SPOT Gen3’s SOS button, INFOCA operations co-ordinators are alerted, the user’s GPS coordinates are instantly transmitted, and rescue or support procedures can be initiated.
“When there is a fire, it is also important to know how far away firefighters and resources are from the heart of it: The ability to track personnel, and the resources they use, all in real-time, is the Holy Grail in fire management,” he added.
Gary King, SPOT Regional Sales Manager at Globalstar, commented: “We’ve seen a dramatic uptake of SPOT devices among first responders, and we are proud that our technology is helping to safeguard and support Andalusia’s firefighters.”
The new agreement with the Junta de Andalusia builds on Technosylva’s earlier adoption by other firefighting organisations around the world. Technosylva has extensive and growing reach in the US, having numerous state-level fire authorities as customers, as well as supporting fire agencies in Spain, Canada and Latin America.
SPOT Gen3 is a rugged, pocket-sized low-priced personal GPS messenger that helps users stay connected via satellite even where there is poor or no GSM signal. SPOT devices have been used in over 7,000 rescues worldwide since Globalstar launched the technology in 2007.
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