The City of Pickering Fire Services Department serves all citizens in Pickering, running approximately 4500 calls per year across varying terrain from highly populated city structures to the remote countryside.
Firefighters were reliant on air cards attached to their mobile data terminals (MDTs) mounted in docking stations in the vehicles. Without external antennas, the MDTs routinely lost connectivity, preventing firefighters from getting critical information in the field. Jason Yoshida is a Deputy Fire Chief with Pickering Fire Department, and one of his responsibilities is the maintenance, upgrading and safety of all fleet apparatus.
Being part of Durham Region, the team at Pickering Fire has frequent interaction with the Durham Region Police Services (DRPS). On one visit, they noticed a new command vehicle being outfitted, and asked about how communications were being enabled. The DRPS team explained that they were using Sierra Wireless cellular gateways in their fleet of over 400 vehicles to support all their communications needs. The gateways support the use of an external antenna, which eliminates many of the coverage issues, and enable all the various devices in the vehicle to share the bandwidth of a single cellular connection.
Sierra Wireless AirLink® Solution
Based on what they saw at DRPS and input from other Sierra Wireless customers, the department decided to order test Sierra Wireless gateways and do a pilot project with 2 frontline vehicles. Pickering Fire and their IT department worked closely with a local reseller and installation company – Manufacturing & Technology Center, in Whitby, Ontario – to monitor the test units and build the system that best suited Pickering’s needs.
Once the units were installed in the fire trucks, they had instant success, and proceeded to outfit their entire fleet.