NSW Ambulance Service has upgraded the Far West Project 25 (P25) radio network with improved coverage and network performance for critical communications.
NSW Ambulance has more than 6,000 employees, including paramedics, doctors, nurses, and corporate personnel who provide emergency medical care and support, clinical care, and rescue and recovery services to communities across the state. Each year, one in six people in the state is cared for by NSW Ambulance, with a call for help every 26 seconds1. April 2021 marked 125 years of operation for the NSW Ambulance Service.
NSW Ambulance needed a partner to redesign its P25 network to ensure that all geographic locations across NSW were covered, that adequate security measures were in place for staff, and that the network remained resilient without downtime.
The private telecommunications provider Vertel won the tender with a detailed solution that demonstrated an understanding of the requirements for the critical operation of NSW Ambulance. The company, which has proven itself to be a trusted supplier to NSW Ambulance on previous projects, designed and implemented the P25 upgrade.
Steven Norris, NSW Ambulance Deputy Commissioner and Director of Control Centers, said, “NSW Ambulance needed a solution that could customize the P25 network and functionality to provide redundancy across the network and communications that would keep the security of the company Personnel and patients increased. Vertel understood the nature of our business. The team worked closely and collaboratively with NSW Ambulance staff to create a dedicated network that would ensure the safety of our staff and paramedics, be easy to use, and provide reliable coverage so we can continue to provide the best possible remote out-of-hospital care Areas of NSW. “
Worker safety is an ongoing concern for NSW Ambulance due to the number of assaults and other violent incidents involving frontline personnel. With this in mind, Vertel designed the platform to provide GPS tracking for all vehicles and an emergency button for paramedics. In an emergency, the control center knows exactly where the staff is and can dispatch the appropriate resources immediately.
The network was also designed with the user in mind, with only one channel to ensure that paramedics are always on the right channel.
Vertel has also considered the critical nature of the services NSW Ambulance provides and created multiple layers of redundancy in the network to ensure that a single failure does not break the entire network. There are two control centers, the primary control center in Dubbo and the backup center near Wollongong.
NSW Ambulance covers an area of more than 800,000 km2. However, some locations had difficulties to be covered by the old network2. Vertel adapted the new design to overcome these issues and provide coverage across the state, while implementing remote network monitoring to monitor all errors in real time and correct them immediately.
Tony Hudson, Vertel Commercial Director, said, “Vertel has a long history of providing the market with critical communications infrastructure and technology. With our expertise in the field, we developed the NSW Ambulance Far West P25 network, understood the critical nature of its operation and ensured the resilience of the network. This is a strategic win for Vertel, in keeping with our ethos of smarter, healthier, and safer by providing critical communications to remote communities. “
NSW Ambulance also recently received an International Critical Communications Award (ICCA) for the best use of critical communications in the public safety category. The ICCAs are the most prestigious awards for critical communication and recognize the success of products, organizations and individuals in pushing boundaries and capabilities in this area. This award recognizes NSW Ambulance’s work with Vertel in building its Far West P25 Radio Network.
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