Getting the right information to fight fires

Deploying the right people and equipment quickly is crucial when responding to bushfires or other environmental emergencies

Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is responsible for emergency management of everything from bushfires, biosecurity, dam safety, waste water to protection of critical infrastructure and more.

In response to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s report released in 2010, DELWP has investigated suitable technology to improve coordination and flow of information during emergency response.

When responding to an emergency, the Department needs to quickly identify and deploy the right assets and people with the relevant experience, qualifications and skills. The system in place had served the Department for ten years but was lacking the information management needed for proper planning and emergency response. 

A new system was needed to give a single view to enable planning of responses and rostering the right people when emergencies arises. It needed to enable the Department to prepare for emergency management and other surge operations and plan resources based on perceived risks and priorities. It also needed to manage and track people and resources for emergency management.

It needed to also allow improved reporting of resource availability, resource deployments and business impacts, while also reducing the administrative burden in planning and mobilising teams to respond to emergencies.

Datacom designed a solution using Microsoft Dynamics 365 – CRM for managing the Departmental Resource and Capability (DRaC) system. The solution draws in information from multiple sources giving a consolidated view useful for analysing the people, resources, skills, capability and availability. This view enables more effective planning and rostering for responses to incidents and with mobilising or demobilising teams.

Datacom built a scheduling system to assist with finding the right people and requesting permission from managers to be allocated to an incident. The system includes a mobile app for confirming availability of people.

Personnel, trucks and tractors, qualifications, education and training can all be seen in the single view. It allows an incident controller to plan a team at short notice and with trust in the information sourced from the DRaC system.

Datacom integrated Dynamics 365 – CRM with mapping systems and HR systems using BizTalk. By providing a resource management portal, Datacom was able to show how easy it can be to maintain and search for information.

The implementation of the solution has enabled the Department to better manage its emergency management workforce through improved statewide consistent rostering and management of capability and availability information.

Since going live in late 2016, it has been used to assist with the response to numerous emergency incidents.

Since the launch of the DRaC solution, the planning and rostering processes that previously took up to a week can now be done in minutes. This also helped the Department reporting its total capability from a region and state perspective – something it could not previously do.