NEW technology made possible through Telstra is making this fire season safer for emergency service crews.
Telstra has spent $100,000 investing in 80 Go Repeater units which will be delivered to emergency service units across the state.
The device is an intelligent antenna which is designed to improve mobile coverage and provide coverage in places where there currently is limited or no coverage.
The antennas will be available to be used in fire trucks, or for any customer’s vehicle, in order to keep phone coverage even in black spots, something which fire trucks often have to deal with in order to reach a fire. Telstra is working with emergency services for what areas will be deployed the 80 antennas.
Telstra Regional General Manager Steve Tinker visited Mount Hollowback on Wednesday to announced the funding, but to also demonstrate the capability of new drone technology which will be used in the battle against bushfires this summer.
The 3D Robotics solo drones can fly up to 120 metres high and are fitted with sophisticated cameras which will be particularly useful when telecommunication towers are damaged in a fire.
“The quicker we can check potential damage, the quicker we can fix it and get customers’ services up and running again,” Mr Tinker said.
“We understand the importance of being able to tell loved ones you’re OK or get your business back online after a severe weather event or bushfire.”
Despite high winds on Wednesday, the demonstration showed that the drones and their cameras could withstand treacherous conditions.
CFA Community engagement coordinator west region Chris Carey said there's no doubt being able to keep in contact with crews on the ground would be an asset.
“Telecommunications is now one of the major ways we can warn communities,” he said. “Being able to get information to the community, whether it be by the website or the telephone alerts and the Vic Emergency app which is a great advantage for people to have.
“To make sure people can get connectivity to their telephones and to get warnings makes things a lot better for everyone.
“We can’t cover every area, Telstra can’t cover every area, but with these things it will open up communications. It gives us contact with people out there who otherwise may not have had the option.”