Following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire disaster in Victoria, Australia, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) sought to upgrade its state-wide critical communications system, prompted by recommendations from the Royal Commission.
With lives, communities and property at risk, choosing a new system was by no means an easy task. CFA chose a Tait P25 mission-critical communications solution to protect the safety of their people.
In the video below, Doug Booth, retired Project Director of the CFA Radio Replacement Project, discusses the drivers for moving to new technology, key requirements, the project challenges and how Tait worked together with CFA to deliver a customized solution that works.
The Tait open standards-based solution provides CFA with choice and interoperability for long-term value, and a flexible design that can adapt with CFA as their requirements change.
Doug Booth (Retired Project Director, CFA Radio Replacement Project): “CFA is pivotal for safe communities throughout Victoria. We have 58,000, approximately, members in CFA, most of whom are volunteers alongside our career staff and we’re very concerned to make sure that the best equipment of all sorts is available to protect the safety of our people.
“The previous radios were about 17 years old. So well and truly at the end-of-life. And it was time to upgrade and keep our communications current and to make sure that the safety of our members was protected with modern technology.
“And that process led us inexorably to the Tait solution.
“Interoperability is vital for us. We operate in close co-operation in regional areas with DSE but also with police. Reliable communication across agencies is absolutely pivotal, particularly in the flurry of activity around a major emergency response activity.
“The Tait rollout has been an extraordinary success. We’ve been very pleased that the company has seen the issues that we’ve been facing as joint challenges that we’ve worked through together.
“It’s been a project with a lot of complexity. We’ve had portable radios, we’ve had mobile radios, but we’ve also had the vehicle mounted repeater which is another product that Tait customised to meet our requirements and it’s been quite a significant success. In addition to that we had a range of other functional changes that we needed and Tait was able to deliver those on a very tight timeframe.
“We’ve been impressed with the calibre of the people that Tait have, particularly in Christchurch, in the factory. We have a very high level of regard and confidence in the mainline engineering team. The flexibility and the engineering rigour that Tait has to offer came to our benefit in regard to this project and the products that we’ve purchased.
“I think with the Tait radio we will have the capability to enhance what we do over a period of time. We have mobile and portable radios that are operating in digital mode and digital channels that are already programmed in the radios. And we’ll also have new Tait base station radios operating in P25 digital mode.
“The needs of our brigades are really quite different. Urban brigades and rural brigades have quite different requirements. So we were pleased that Tait radio could meet all of those requirements.”
If you want to find out more, we suggest reading CFA’s P25 radio upgrade project case study.