Royal Berkshire fire and rescue to deploy new FireWatch Mobile app

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service supports mobile working with deployment of new FireWatch app, and strengthens its existing FireWatch integrated resource management platform


Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service provides prevention, protection and response services across the county of Berkshire. 12 Wholetime and six on-call fire stations cover 486 square miles, from Langley in the East to Lambourn in the West. It serves a diverse cultural population of 911,400, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The role of RBFRS within local communities is evolving. A wide range of services help keep communities safe, including safety and protection advice to residents and businesses, as well as enforcing fire safety legislation and reducing fire risk in the built environment. This is in addition to highly skilled crews providing a swift and effective response to incidents ranging from road, rail, aviation and waterway accidents, to fuel and chemical spills, collapsed buildings, large animal rescues and, of course, fires.

RBFRS is under the direction of a combined Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, which is made up of representatives from the county’s six unitary authorities. RBFRS also works alongside Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service, Public Health, and other public service providers in Berkshire. In doing so, it is helping to contribute to the overall safety of the communities it serves, whilst still providing a value-for-money service to the local taxpayer.

The challenge

With such a diverse range of duties, complex fire fighter contracts and flexible duties to manage, The Service requires a platform that can support a digitised way of working and agile approach to fire and rescue management, whilst strengthening collaboration across teams and partner organisations.

The solution

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service worked with Infographics to deploy their specialist FireWatch Fire Service Management platform, and are now embarking on a next phase to expand use of the solution into new areas.

The Fire Service utilises the integrated human resource management, training and development, health and safety, asset management, automated electronic payment calculations and processing for on-call and Wholetime staff, and availability management – with a live interface to their shared Thames Valley Control and Capita Vision mobilisation system.

FireWatch mobile app – key features and benefits

Infographics have created a new cross-platform mobile app that provides a modern and intuitive user experience, available from anywhere at any time. RBFRS will be the first client site to deploy the FireWatch app for iPhone and Android devices, allowing users to directly access data and tasks for leave, skills, training, availability and assets. It also enables users to manage their relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – all from a single phone or tablet app.

Utilising the latest cross-platform app development tools, the new solution integrates seamlessly with the wider FireWatch user experience across Web, SMS and Microsoft Azure Cloud platform.

Paul Binyon, Area Manager for Service Delivery at RBFRS, said:

“By adopting the new cross platform FireWatch app, we believe that staff will benefit from improved access to key information.

“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.”

Key FireWatch app features:

  • Bio-metric login – convenient and secure with options for face ID and finger print recognition
  • ‘Push notifications’ automatically triggered by the FireWatch two-way mobilisation system interface, with the ability to confirm attendance and ETA
  • Quick and easy digitised attendance claims integrated with location services directly from the user’s mobile phone
  • ‘Roaming availability’ – eliminates the need for users to manually change their cover provision location by automatically detecting this and optionally using location services.
  • Employee calendar – allows users to manage time, bookings and availability from anywhere
  • Book on/off – quick and easily to book on/off, or make future bookings and other amendments
  • Station availability – view current station and vehicle crewing information and upcoming changes
  • Organisation-wide availability for managers – providing an understanding of ‘the bigger picture’ across the entire FRS within a mobile-optimised view
  • Holiday request workflow –request and approve leave directly from the app, which has an in-built, dynamic understanding of the live FRS contracts, post structure and hierarchy (via from the wider-integrated FireWatch solution)
  • Actionable KPI charts – presents key role-based metrics that users can directly drill into and perform actions on
  • Training request workflow – allows users to quickly find training matching their role and skills needs, utilising an automated, multi-step workflow for course booking
  • Training course calendar – view and browse training course options directly from the app

Project extensions

Infographics are also working with RBFRS to extend the FireWatch app further in two further areas:

Cancellation workflows

In addition to leave request and cancelation workflows, capabilities will be provided to manage changes to existing leave and to check if the change will cause a crewing issue. This will help RBFRS to more easily manage changes to pre-allocated wholetime leave, in particular, which is often updated throughout the year.

Enhanced asset management

In conjunction with RBFRS’s plan to extend how they use the integrated FireWatch asset management module and from which devices they interact with it, the FireWatch app will be enhanced to support standardised testing and auditing – again, from the same single integrated app for users. It will include the ability to scan assets utilising the phone or tablet camera (with Near Field Communications also possible) and to defect, move or perform other updates to assets.

RBFRS have proven to be a leading service, with early digitalisation and automation of processes underpinned by the integrated FireWatch resource management platform. They have benefited from a reduction in the number of systems, logins, user interfaces, complexity, data and tasks used to manage employees and their overall operations.

Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said:

“We are delighted RBFRS are rolling out our latest developments and will be the first of many clients expected to deploy our FireWatch app and other new solution areas, now available following our continued reinvestment in R&D.

“The rich integrated features of the main FireWatch platform and its modernised architecture allow us to easily roll out more capabilities via the app, Web and other areas as part of one integrated system for users, made available from anywhere at any time – including via the FireWatch Cloud and Microsoft Azure.”

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