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​Spark and Motorola Solutions join forces to deploy new tech to 10,000 Kiwi firefighters

​Spark and Motorola Solutions join forces to deploy new tech to 10,000 Kiwi firefighters

New solution embeds radio microphone within firefighters’ breathing apparatus.

Spark has deployed Motorola Solutions to the New Zealand Fire Service, rolling out two-way radio technology to the service’s 10,000 career and volunteer firefighters.

Designed to improve safety and communication while working in fire grounds, the new solution will enable firefighters to stay connected to colleagues in the field via voice communication.

Terms of the deal will see Spark provide in-country support including service management and a customer support desk.

“Radios are life-saving tools for our emergency services, and great team communication can be the difference between a managed incident and a disaster,” says Tim Miles, CEO, Spark Digital.

Having attended around 73,000 incidents in the past year alone, the New Zealand Fire Service will now receive more than 4,500 new radios designed for use in the most severe fire ground environments.

A major feature of the solution is a remote speaker microphone that will be fully integrated within firefighters’ breathing apparatus - this will be combined with the radio’s push-to-talk button, which enables firefighters to communicate in the harshest conditions.

“Communication is critical to safety on the incident ground, and much of that communication comes from the use of incident ground control (IGC) radio,” says Paul Baxter, CEO, New Zealand Fire Service.

“That’s why we were so exacting in our requirements for these new radios. The radios will help us to resolve radio interface issues with firefighters’ breathing apparatus while also delivering improved noise cancellation and battery life.”

By using a combination of single and multi-band radios operating across both VHF and UHF bands, Baxter says the solution aligns with the fire service’s vision of leading integrated fire and emergency services for a safer New Zealand.

“This radio solution enables us to move away from using a mix of models and frequencies and toward a nationally consistent standard that will make it easier to work with our emergency service partners,” he adds.

Motorola Solutions Managing Director for New Zealand and Australia Steve Crutchfield says the solution drew from the company’s experience in providing tailored, mission-critical communications for public safety agencies all over the world.

“Firefighters depend on reliable and robust voice communications in emergency situations so they can concentrate on the job of protecting our communities and potentially saving lives,” he adds.

Crutchfield says the radios are part of a five-year contract, giving New Zealand Fire Service operational and cost certainty throughout the life of the contract.

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