New location system for SA emergency crews

Advanced location devices have been fitted to 1400 emergency service vehicles in South Australia to better protect firefighters and other emergency workers.

The Automatic Vehicle Location platform provides real-time location data to help protect personnel and enhance the allocation and deployment of resources.

The $12 million investment has funded the installation of tracking hardware and software in vehicles operated by the Country Fire Service, the State Emergency Service, Volunteer Marine Rescue, the Metropolitan Fire Service and Forestry SA.

Data from the vehicles can be displayed on a dashboard for incident managers. The system also includes an SOS button in each vehicle that can bring assistance as quickly as possible.

"AVL is lifesaving technology for our emergency services personnel who put their lives on the line to keep us safe," Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs said.

"Strategically, AVL will allow emergency services to map, plan and execute how to attack bushfires and other natural disasters like floods where multiple crews are involved.

"This new technology bolsters safety of crews to new levels we've never seen before."

The system was used recently to co-ordinate the emergency response to flooding down the Murray and at a scrub fire at Montecute, in the Adelaide Hills.

Chief Officer Brett Loughlin said the safety and wellbeing of CFS crews was of utmost importance and would be enhanced through the introduction of the new technology which would work even when vehicles were beyond normal cellular phone services.

"The SOS button acts as a lifeline for our crews in distress, such as during a burn-over. With just one four-second press, they can receive help faster," he said.

"The ability to quickly and visually track where our resources are will also positively impact the way we approach bushfires, resulting in improved community safety outcomes."