Real-time Emergency Dispatch for Europe’s Largest Fire Brigade

To better manage large call volume and reduce emergency response times, Bouches-du-Rhône Fire & Rescue implemented Hexagon’s leading computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to enhance its capacity for managing large forest fires while increasing the availability of its firefighters and equipment.

French firefighters investigate and accident

The Challenge

Located in the south of France, Bouches-du-Rhône is not only favored by tourists, but is also an important industrial region. This region is renowned for its large forest fires – major incidents that demand a strong public safety organization like the Bouches-du-Rhône Fire Brigade.

The command and control center for the brigade in Marseille receives all emergency calls from within the department and responds to a wide range of events, including forest fires, accidents at sea, mountain climbing accidents, industrial site events, and medical emergencies, many of which involve tourists.

The brigade needed to speed up its emergency response time, provide automatic location identification and messaging from the field, enhance its capacity to manage large forest fires, and increase the availability of firefighters and equipment.


The Solution

To better manage its large call volume, Bouches-du-Rhône selected an industry-leading computer-aided dispatch (CAD) solution from Hexagon’s Safety & Infrastructure division.  The system incorporates various telephony interfaces, including automatic location identification and messaging using mobile phones. It also integrates vector maps for the entire street network, main building footprints, and aerial photos of the region, allowing the brigade to modernize its safety procedures for faster and more efficient response and to improve the quality of information provided to local authorities.

Sixteen call-takers / dispatchers, two supervisors, and 22 remote dispatchers use the CAD solution, while all 67 fire stations connect to the system via ISDN analog / digital radio. A portion of the brigade’s fleet of vehicles uses automatic vehicle location and mobile data terminals, allowing firefighters to update the status of the vehicle directly from the field. This resulted in a more balanced response to emergencies across the region and increased the availability of firefighters and equipment.

Hexagon also partnered with the brigade firefighting units to provide an advanced modelling and decision-support tool that uses meteorological data to predict a fire’s progress. This enables Bouches-du-Rhône to easily analyze situations and adapt its response in real time. It also helps to optimize firefighting and resources while reducing costs, increasing the brigade’s capacity to manage major fires.



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