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Avon Fire and Rescue Service enhances public safety with new routing solution 

UK West Country Fire and Rescue Service to use next-gen routers to provide continuous connectivity to its 21 service stations, allowing its 600-plus firefighters to undertake their duties effectively and protect 1.1 million population

As part of an overarching strategy to refresh its mobilisation system, Avon Fire and Rescue Services (Avon FRS) is to start using Cradlepoint routers, powered by NetCloud to provide failover support to ensure unfailing and continuous connectivity across the its stations.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service provides prevention, protection, and response services across the former Avon area, which spans 512 square miles, including an international airport, five motorways, four universities, and 450,000 homes.

As a result, Avon FRS requires connectivity that can ensure unfailing communications, allowing its firefighters to undertake their duties and protect the lives of Avon's 1.1 million population without any drop in connectivity, which could have led to slower responses to emergencies that put lives at risk. 

In the urban areas of Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare, the fire stations are crewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by firefighters working on the Wholetime Duty System.

Avon FRS received notice from its previous provider that its secondary connectivity bearer would be withdrawn at the end of March 2022. Following this, Avon FRS engaged with Telent, channel partner of cloud-delivered LTE, and 5G wireless solutions provider Cradlepoint to deploy its NetCloud Service and wireless edge routers to Avon FRS’s 21 stations to provide a “futureproofed”, resilient solution.

The deployment of the Cradlepoint technology formed part of a larger project delivered by Avon FRS and Telent to provide a complete technology refresh to Avon FRS’s station-end mobilisation system.

Through the deployment, Avon FRS was said to have gained further insight into its network, using the NetCloud platform, affording the ability to monitor data accurately. Unlike the previous system, the new set up proactively flagged when connectivity failed and allowed engineers to address any network issue remotely, significantly reducing downtime. This increases the day-to-day ability of each firefighter to carry out their duties effectively, not having to worry about losing contact with their home station.

Since the delivery of the solution, Avon FRS is said to have benefitted from more reliable and secure networks through improved failover connections. “Before undertaking this partnership we were already aware of Cradlepoint and its excellent products,” said Avon Fire and Rescue Services station manager John Craig.

“We were looking for an ultra-resilient, high-speed router that wouldn’t rely on [other] mobile services and PSTN telephone lines, as they are being decommissioned in 2025 and knew that Cradlepoint could deliver.

“Not only are the products fantastic, boosting the confidence of our six hundred-plus firefighters, but the service we received has been second-to-none. We cover an incredibly high-risk and expansive environment.

“Failures in communication can put the lives of our teams and the public at risk, and Cradlepoint has helped us to significantly reduce that threat. We are already looking into installing Cradlepoint’s routers in our fleet of fire appliances and look forward to our future together.”

Steven Winter, public sector regional sales manager at Cradlepoint, added: “Emergency responders shouldn’t have to worry about poor connection impacting their ability to carry out their duties. It is vital that they use reliable, high-speed network foundations that will only improve their ability to service the general public.”

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