The REACT project involves the project consortium working with the Irish Dublin Fire Brigade to develop a system that will ensure constant and reliable communication for exchange of real-time information between deployed emergency response personnel and its relevant command centre during a crisis or disaster situation.
The REACT project proposes to address the limitation of the current dependence on mobile technology by developing a hybrid solution for the emergency services that intelligently combines the usage of mobile and satellite communication for transmission of information. The system will be designed for use not only in rural areas where standard mobile communication may be limited or unavailable but also during a major crisis when standard networks are overloaded.
The major objectives of the REACT system are as follows:
Development of an end to end solution for communication of critical information between first responders deployed at the scene of a major emergency and the local crisis Command and Control centre.
Communication within the REACT system will use a variety of available technologies ranging from wireless broadband, TETRA through to satellite communication with the automatic switching and selection of the communication network.
Analyse and selection of the most appropriate satellite infrastructure based on the end users bandwidth needs, information communication requirements, deployment and usage costs.
Installation and integration of the end user REACT hardware and software onto the Dublin Fire Brigades specialised incident response vehicle so that video feeds, voice communication and crucial captured data can be sent to the Command and Control centre.
Installation and integration of the end user REACT hardware and software into the local Command and Control centre.
Implementation of REACT system services for both the scene commanders deployed in the incident response vehicle and the personnel in the Command and Control centre to enhance the procedures, processes information analysis and support during a major crisis.
Usage of the REACT system during the project pilot phase for system testing and validation. The piloting will be performed by Dublin Fire Brigade personnel and involve both normal training activities in addition to usage during major emergency simulation events at identified Irish SEVESO sites.
To find out more about the project, please see the full project web page hosted on telecom.esa.int.
The REACT project has completed its final stage during which a complete set of training exercises and two major SEVESO exercises were performed with the support of the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB). The training exercises involved at least twice weekly activities where the major features where demonstrated and DFB personnel trained in REACT standard operational procedures. Training took places in several locations throughout Dublin ranging from the DFB training HQ through to Dublin Airport and near SEVESO sites throughout the Dublin area. At these training events all major features and services of the REACT system were tested and demonstrated.
The two major SEVESO exercises in which the REACT system was successfully deployed were firstly the simulation of a plane crash in an estuary to the North of Dublin which is on the approach path into Dublin airport and secondly the simulation of a chemical spill at a major chemical storage facility to the north west of Dublin.
For each of these exercises the REACT system was deployed on the Major Emergency Incident Vehicle located at the scene of the incident and also at the DFB Command and Control (C&C) HQ located in the centre of Dublin. For both of these exercises all the services of the REACT system were tested during demonstration scenarios. The REACT system services communicated over a Ka band connection provided by the Avanti Hylas-1 satellite. With this broadband capability all services of REACT were deployable in parallel and were able to utilise the bandwidth available. Such services included:
- Scene video streaming to C&C centre
- Video conferencing between C&C and Incident Response Vehicle
- VoIP services
- Streaming of video to authorise tablet devices
- Smartboard sharing
- Image sharing
- Pre-plans procedure updates
- Task tracking
- Interactive map sharing
All features of the system worked successfully and very positive responses collected from both the scene commander located in the Incident Vehicle at the site and from personnel located in the C&C centre.
For the SEVESO exercise there was a variety of end users which ranged from scene commanders, command and control centre personnel, incident scene vehicle engineers, DFB IT personnel, personnel from other organisations including the coast guards, police (Gardai), civil response and government department representatives.
With regards to the satellite telecommunication service that will provide enhanced data connectivity to the Incident Response Vehicle (IRV), a Ka-band based satellite telecommunication service was preferred over the initially proposed Ku-band. Avanti was selected to provide the Ka-band satellite broadband service via the HYLAS 1 satellite. The HYLAS 1 satellite includes a Ka-band spot beam that supports complete coverage of Ireland.
The REACT project was successfully completed at the Final Review, on the 07 February 2014 and the system is now moving to product commercialization. Discussions are ongoing with relevant government departments and emergency response representatives to initially roll out the system throughout the different districts of Ireland.