O2 to wirelessly track 50 ambulances

9 Oct 2006

The Health Services Executive (HSE) has joined forces with mobile operator O2 to wirelessly track 50 ambulances across the south-east of the country using 3G technology.

The idea is to enable better management of crowd events like football matches and concerts.

The technology also allow ambulances to be wirelessly tracked, enabling a more even split of patients between A&E services in the south-east.

“Time and reliability are of the essence in medical situations such as transporting patients and urgent medical equipment,” said Billy D’Arcy, head of O2 Ireland’s corporate and business sales.

“The mobile technology solution being used by the HSE is a live example of the benefits of 3G technology due to its faster download speeds,” D’Arcy added.

O2’s 3G data cards are plugged into an external drive on the PC on board each ambulance which allows the Mobile Control Vehicle (nerve centre) to network wirelessly with the Regional Ambulance Control Centre (RACC) in Wexford as well as with all ambulances and to check availability of local hospitals if a major accident occurs.

The RACC is the nerve centre for the ambulance service in the south-east which supports approximately 600,000 people annually with its emergency response units. Its fleet of emergency response vehicles are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for both emergencies and crowd control and cover hospitals in Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford and south Tipperary.

Regional ambulance control and communications officer for the HSE in the south-east Michael Delaney explained: “O2’s 3G solution allows us access to ambulance dispatch software so we can monitor where all the ambulances are at any one time.

“In real-time over the internet we can keep everyone informed of progress on the ground, know when a significant number of people are being sent to one particular hospital and we can now divert the remaining patients to another hospital so that one hospital is not over-run in an emergency situation,” said Delaney.

By John Kennedy