Firefighters in the Börde district – the second largest administrative in the Eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt – are now being alerted over the closed e*BOS network operated by e*Message. The service area of the district covers 2,366 square kilometres, including parts of the A2 and A14 autobahns. An inaugural event was held in Sülzetal on November 8, 2007.
The Börde district was enlarged in July, 2007, by a merger with the rural district of Ohre . The local authorities recently chose the e*BOS network after the Ohre district had replaced its analog alerting technology with a digital network a year ago. Some 200 modern receivers were distributed to volunteer fire departments in several villages — Altenweddingen, Bahrendorf, Dodendorf, Langenweddingen, Osterweddingen, Schwaneberg, Sülldorf and Stemmern — for a test phase, during which the firefighters were able to assess the devices’ technical performance and tactical assets. In particular, the e*BOS network demonstrated its reliability when the storm Kyrill hit the region in January 2007, causing a power blackout and a general breakdown of other communication networks.
An integrated command post located in Haldensleben can send alerting messages not only within the district, but also as far as the cities of Helmstedt and Wolfsburg. Such a large coverage area reaches even volunteer firefighters who commute to jobs beyond the district’s boundaries. Moreover, most of the firefighters use e*Alarm V pagers, which support convenient remote alert management software. This novel technology opens up new horizons for the digital radio networks used by security agencies and rescue services. “At first, I was against the technology,” says Erich Wasserthal, mayor of Sülzetal. “But I had the opportunity to test the e*Alarm V pager myself for a few weeks and to learn all about it. Now I’m a real fan. Using the management software, we were able to program all receivers in just two days. Incredible! No comparison with analog technology! Before, each device had to be programmed at our radio workshop and we waited weeks before we could use it again.” Before the introduction of the new pagers, volunteers of the 180 fire brigades within the Börde district could only receive acoustic messages. Thanks to the e*BOS technology, they can now receive detailed text messages, which are sent either to individuals or to groups, according to priority lists. “We have been using analog alerting devices without single-frequency technology since 1991, but they became obsolete and were much too unreliable. For that reason, especially after the Kyrill storm, I advised the local authorities to equip the rescue services with digital receivers,” says Hans-Joachim Reulecke, chief officer of the Börde District Fire Prevention and Civil Defence Administration. “The e*BOS network remained operational during the storm, even when sirens didn’t work due to the power blackout. We are very satisfied, as the command post can send alert and emergency messages simultaneously, which minimizes the reaction time of fire and rescue services.” The Haldensleben command post went operational in July, 2007, as the hub of a network that covers 2,366 square kilometres. Several waterways and federal highways, including the A2 and A14 autobahns, run through the coverage area. Each year the command post coordinates some 20,000 operations, from fires to chemical clean-ups to technical support. The Börde district’s fire brigades are manned by some 4,000 volunteers