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Kent Fire and Rescue Service commits to FireWatch workforce management platform

30 August 2022

KENT FIRE and Rescue Service has become the latest client to sign up for Infographics’ FireWatch workforce management platform in a deal that includes the delivery of said platform via Microsoft Azure Cloud – with Software-as-a-Service – and Mobile App access for Fire and Rescue Service users.

The news follows on from a competitive tender award worth circa £1 million over the term of the contract, with the project covering the replacement of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s existing rostering and availability systems.

Specifically, the arrangement includes the provision of resource availability planning and real-time monitoring, resource and skills-based crewing, flexible/self-rostering planning, workflow and fulfilment, overtime resource request and fulfilment workflows, general time management, leave and absence workflows and recording, payments and integration with payroll, the integration of absence data, Mobile App and Web UX access for end users and managers and also mobilisation system integration.

The FireWatch deployment will provide ‘anytime, anywhere’ access for Kent Fire and Rescue Service staff, including wholetime and on-call firefighters, managers, officers and corporate support staff, thereby increasing the real-time visibility of availability and resources and integrating live data with the Control Room.

Resource management

Karen Irvine, assistant director of people and learning at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said: “At Kent Fire and Rescue Service, we’re always looking for ways in which we can evolve to continuously deliver a high standard for the people we serve, but we’re also really committed to being an innovative place to work. On that basis, we’re really looking forward to working with the FireWatch platform and introducing its benefits.”

Irvine went on to state: “Overall, FireWatch will enable us to manage our resources and availability more effectively, including better time management options and a live picture of our resources and personnel, which will help to match crews, skills and equipment to the operational need.”

FireWatch Mobile will allow users to directly manage data and tasks for time/availability, leave and other areas via smart devices. Supervisors and team members will also be empowered to clearly understand the impact of resource changes and manage and act on any issues or deadlines highlighted within their personalised Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This includes workflow-driven resource requests and fulfilment processes to address gaps in cover.

Russell Wood, commercial manager at Infographics, stated: “We’re extremely pleased to have been selected by Kent Fire and Rescue as a part of a competitive tendering process. We’re looking forward to working with the team to modernise their user experience around the management of resources and availability, deliver flexible self-service capabilities and provide live integrated resource information for the Control Room.”

Going live with FireWatch v7.8

In parallel, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has just gone live with the latest major release of the FireWatch fire service management software, namely v7.8.

With this latest roll-out, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has “transformed” employee interactions thanks to a re-designed, modern and KPI-driven user experience where end users can see and action their integrated tasks and data in one place within the single system.

FireWatch Cloud enables users ‘anytime, anywhere’ access. Once fully deployed, single sign-on via Azure Active Directory integration will enable end users to use their existing Office 365 credentials to automatically authenticate and access the system, in turn further simplifying their experience.

The deployment has involved extensive user testing and close collaboration between Infographics and the Fire and Rescue Service. Steve Buchanan-Lee, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s group manager for operational training and development, observed: “The upgrade to FireWatch v7.8 has now provided our staff with all the functionality of FireWatch wherever they are and whatever they are doing. The improved end user experience now allows much easier access to live data and reports in a format that’s both technically and visually easier to process.”

Buchanan-Lee noted: “Improvements have already been seen in the monitoring and management of operational response. We’re continuing to explore further functionality in the use of FireWatch v7.8 to improve our support of staff competence and the management of operational appliances and equipment.”

The key ‘gains’ that the implementation teams at West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have identified through their analysis include greater scalability, increased security, improved accessibility, easy and streamlined upgrades and reduced equipment costs.