Ambulance New Zealand incorporates the membership of nine land ambulance services and a number of air ambulance operators throughout New Zealand. St John provides nearly 90 per cent of these services, with about 150 stations around New Zealand, 600 salaried ambulance officers and a further 2,200 volunteers. Ambulance operations are currently co-ordinated out of eight communications centers.Download client story as a PDF
The Ambulance Service communications system must be reliable, responsive and flexible – hence the service's strong relationship with Tait and TeamTalk New Zealand, who have supplied the conventional mobile radio network that currently links all ambulance services with more than 105 repeater sites nationwide. The need for a network with high quality radio equipment and excellent RF performance meant Tait base stations/repeaters were chosen.
These, combined with TeamTalk's field experience and technical capability, have resulted in reliable and flexible network communications. Under a national Ambulance Communications Project, the number of communications centers was reduced to three, each equipped to best practice standards and operating as one virtual centre. Any one communications centre will have the capability to communicate throughout New Zealand via the radio telephone network should the need arise.
Tait developed specialist custom features for the mobile radios which are used in all ambulances and stations. These include selective calling, enabling users to call an individual or contact a group of users; and status messaging where users can relay their job status to the control centre by simply from a predefined list of messages. Wellington Free Ambulance currently utilizes a Tait mobile data solution which includes Automatic Vehicle Location - allowing its vehicles to be tracked via the Internet using a GPS receiver.
Under the Ambulance Communications Project, AVL will be installed in all New Zealand ambulances, with the Tait supplied radio telephone network used as the secondary means of AVL data transfer. Tony Blaber, project director for the Ambulance Communications Project, describes the benefits of a linked radio network across the country; "the ambulance radio network is a key component in the control of ambulances throughout the country. Ambulances are equipped to work in any part of New Zealand, and in the event of a major incident or routine inter-region transfer, can maintain constant voice contact with the appropriate center by merely changing the radio scan group," Mr Blaber said.
St John has announced Tait as one of nine official suppliers of equipment fitted inside a standard ambulance – as part of a project to standardize the equipment used in St John ambulances nationwide.