Reliable communications are an essential 'tool for the job'.(Radio Communications)

However, major technological advances in recent years have enabled fire services to look far beyond the use of radios as simply a way of talking to each other. Instead, many are taking a more visionary approach, asking themselves how technology can help them to deploy their resources more effectively, how they can inter-operate with police and ambulance services, how they can give firefighters fingertip access to information sources and how technology can help them to improve safety

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has asked itself these very questions in recent times. In the weeks leading up to the launch of their new communications system, Shropshire's CFO Ian Kerr explains to FIRE why he believes that the very real pain of a long-term, complex project really is certainly worth the gain.

Technology is advancing so quickly that the possibilities seem endless. It is not difficult to fill a blank sheet of paper with a wish list of things that could help us all do our jobs better.

Fortunately, says Ian Kerr, he has some excellent people in his team. They have helped to channel the organisation's aspirations for addressing the needs of their community into concrete, deliverable, immediate benefits, while keeping their eyes on a not-too distant future ideal.

"Like many others, our existing radio system is well beyond its sell-by date," Ian Kerr explains. …

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