Ettington CFR Team develops special SatNav functionality for CFR use

Performance Products Ltd and Ettington CFR Team have worked together to develop a SatNav which provides precise navigation to emergency incidents.

Ettington CFR Team, which works with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), is despatched to life threatening and serious incident arising from 999 calls to provide emergency medical care ahead of the arrival of the ambulance crew . The team are alerted by text message or radio and the information that is passed to the team contains a grid reference in a 12-digit format called Eastings and Northings. This information is usually accurate enough to identify the location of the incident to within a few metres.

The problem has been that this information – whilst used to great effect in WMAS’s own vehicle navigation systems – cannot be entered into conventional SatNav devices. Ettington CFR Team member, Russ Inman, contacted Performance Products Ltd, a UK-based SatNav manufacturer, to ask whether they would be able to modify the software in their devices to allow the Eastings and Northings data to be entered. Tony McCann, Technical Director, responded to the enquiry and allocated resource within the company to address the request.

Subsequently, Ettington CFR Team has evaluated a number of iterations of the software. Not only has Performance Products Ltd made a change to the coordinate entry screen but they have optimised the algorithm which dictates when the user is at the exact location. The very high accuracy of the destination data required even more accuracy in terms of when the unit identified the SatNav as being at the intended location.

This level of accuracy is particularly helpful to the team in a host of circumstances such as trying to locate remote premises (such as farms), houses with names instead of numbers, road traffic accidents, and general operations during the hours of darkness.

Performance Products Ltd markets the range of SatNav devices under the Snooper brand (www.snooperuk.com). As well as providing coding resource free-of-charge, Performance Product Ltd has supplied the team with a Snooper s5000 device and has provided a Snooper s900 at a heavily-discounted price.

The units have already proved very valuable in the team’s front-line operations. Other CFR teams have evaluated the devices with very positive results. Additionally, the s5000 was displayed on the WMAS CFR stand at the Emergency Services Show 2011 at Coventry.

Russ Inman, a CFR with Ettington CFR Team who worked with Performance Products to develop the SatNav said; “Performance Products Ltd responded to our request in an incredibly positive way. Their ‘can do’ attitude was so refreshing and, being a UK-based, agile, company, they were able to very rapidly provide an initial release of the special software to meet our specific requirements. The two units that we currently have in operation have already proved invaluable. Indeed, when we were without the s5000 when it was being displayed at the Emergency Services Show, we were anxious to get it back! We are extremely grateful to Tony McCann and his colleagues for all that they have done to support us; both in terms of the coding support and in the provision of the SatNav devices themselves. The support that they have given our organisation is a real credit to them”.

Tony McCann, Technical Director at Performance Products Ltd said; “We, at Performance Products, were happy to help Russell and his team by providing a unit which ultimately could save lives. In the beginning we were unfamiliar with ‘Eastings and Northings’ but, with valuable input and testing from Russell and his team, we were able to develop the software which met the needs of the CFR team. This is not the end of the story as we are still working with Russell in further developing the software”.

The s5000 unit will be used in conjunction with the team’s dedicated First Responder vehicle. It is intended that the team will deploy further units across team members as private cars will continue to be used in addition to the Scheme Car.

If you are a CFR scheme which is interested in obtaining Snooper devices, please contact Tony McCann, Technical Director, tmccann@snooper.eu. However, please be aware that Ettington CFR Team is still developing the software with Performance Products Ltd and, if you are outside the WMAS area, please check that the format of the location data is compatible.

If any companies are prepared to support the car through the provision of services such as servicing, tyres, fuel etc. – discounted or at no-charge – we would be delighted to hear from you.

For more information on the Scheme Car or to assist in fundraising, please email us at info@ettingtoncfr.org.uk.

For media information or details about CFR schemes operating with West Midlands Ambulance Service, please contact pressoffice@wmas.nhs.uk

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