LONDON, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Tayside Fire and Rescue in Scotland today announced the selection of IBM (NYSE: IBM) to improve the management of critical firefighting and emergency response assets. The project includes the use of sophisticated IBM software to help automate maintenance and provide real-time information on the equipment critical to the safety of firefighters and the citizens they protect.
Tayside Fire and Rescue will now have the ability to manage, measure and track the entire life cycle of vital equipment. This not only includes all the operational equipment carried on the fleet of fire engines, high-reach platforms and specialist appliances but also the gloves, specialist protective clothing, safety footwear, self-contained breathing apparatus and safety helmets designed to withstand water and high temperatures.
Working together, IBM and Tayside have already reduced the time related to the processing of requests for repairs of personal protective and operational equipment (PPE) by 10 percent and anticipate that to rise to 30 percent once the inventory elements of the new system are in place.
The municipality of Tayside covers an area of approximately 7,500 square kilometres, with a population of nearly 400,000. The 668 firefighters manage a total of 50 fire fighting vehicles based at 24 strategically located fire stations. Last year they received in excess of 15,000 calls, which consisted of 1,021 significant fires, 198 road traffic collisions, and 993 specialist rescues and assistance.
The IBM technology, called Maximo Asset Management software, is enabling Tayside emergency management responders to quickly track exactly where their equipment is at any given time and view the history of how it has been used. The software also provides improved operational assurance as all equipment is fit for purpose and can identify early warning signals when equipment is due for testing or renewal. For example, emergency responders now know how many times specialist rescue equipment has been used and in what capacity and when it needs to be tested again. This means that they can use the data within Maximo to predict the optimum point when equipment needs to be replaced before it affects their ability to respond to emergency situations.
Prior to working with IBM, Tayside's asset management system was a manual, paper-based system, which was time-consuming, costly and subject to error. As Steve Gunning, Technical Manager at Tayside Fire and Rescue says, "Ensuring the safety of our firefighters is paramount. The major advantage of the IBM software is the confidence it provides us in knowing that our firefighters are properly equipped and that local communities are getting the value they deserve from our service."
All firefighters that have PPE issued to them must regularly record that they have this equipment and that it is in good condition. The new IBM software records the age of PPE, repairs and specialist cleans. The ability to combine all this data has allowed Tayside to take a more data-driven, preventative approach to the management of operational equipment and PPE and as a result more accurately plan replacement programmes and identify fault trends.
Head of Technical Services for Tayside Area Manager Andy Hermiston adds, "One of the areas that provided the greatest opportunity is the ability to operate multiple organisations and sites within the same software application. This means other fire and rescue services can share the same processes and structure that we have developed, while operating independently where necessary. For instance, we can all procure and use the same equipment, but the individual management of it is focused to specific locations."
The success of the system has led to plans to extend its use not only for the management of fleet, facilities and Information Communication Technology but also procurement and finance.
"Having the right equipment at the right place at the right time can be a life and death situation for emergency responders and the citizens they serve," said Barry Gibbons, vice president, IBM Software, UK and Ireland. "Today's announcement underscores IBM's ongoing focus in helping clients use technology to better manage data and ensure critical assets are ready for use when they are vitally needed."
The project in Tayside is part of a growing trend among local governments in Europe and beyond seeking to improve the safety and services provided to citizens with new software technologies, while also preserving scarce government budget resources. The Tayside project demonstrates the enormous promise of new technologies to help public officials better manage their vast array of data and material assets, leading to the creation of Smarter Cities. IBM has more than 2,000 Smarter Cities engagements underway around the world, helping municipalities manage public services such as emergency response, crime, traffic and water systems more efficiently.
For more information about IBM Maximo® Asset Management software, visit: www.ibm.com/tivoli/maximo
For more information about Tayside Fire and Rescue, visit; http://www.taysidefire.gov.uk/page/Tayside_Fire_and_Rescue_Services__About_Us_21.html
To see an interactive graphic of this project, visit: http://220.127.116.11/login/firestation/firestation.html
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