Metropolitan Fire Brigade


The MFB, also known as the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, provides firefighting, rescue, medical and hazardous material incident response services to the Melbourne metropolitan area, safeguarding assets and infrastructure worth billions of dollars in an area of over 1,000 square kilometres to over 3 million people. The MFB’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit, which collects information on the damage extent during an emergency event, was using paper-based reporting methods, with no spatial component. MFB recognised the gap in spatial reporting was affecting relief and recovery agencies’ abilities to respond effectively. The MFB needed a system that would be easy to use in the field with mobile data constraints and give the team the ability to collect and report damage data quickly, roll it up to a central system and see a common operating picture to help relief and recovery agencies direct resources.

When you use ARM360 you get the exact address, the GPS location, a photo, it’s live on a map. What helps is that with the push of a button you can generate a report of the properties that can be emailed to relief and recovery agencies so they can help the affected communities.

Greg Plier, Senior Station Officer, Technical Rescue Unit - USAR, MFB


NGIS deployed the ARM360 tool, which allows users to quickly classify damage into predetermined categories using polygon drawings and points. Entire streets and areas can be surveyed as safe, damaged or destroyed to eliminate the need to report on individual properties. The system enables reports and photographs/videos in various forms to give information to ministers, senior agency officers, incident controllers and other recovery agencies. ARM360 allows incident controllers to make improved and informative decisions, to effectively allocate the most efficient use of agency resources based on need. ARM360 provides instant operational awareness with managers able to watch the initial impact assessments, view images of damaged properties and generate summary statistics on the progress of assessments live from their coordination center.

During the 2014 bushfire season Victoria had two significant fires burning simultaneously at Mickleham/Kilmore and Gippsland. MFB USAR teams were able to assess and map more than 2500 properties in four days. MFB mapped and reported multiple assessment types including, point of ignition, multiple point, line and polygon assessments on individual properties. This data collection was approximately 60 times faster than previously used methods.

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