Comms funding boost for NSW rescue volunteers

Wednesday, 18 January, 2023

Comms funding boost for NSW rescue volunteers

The Volunteer Rescue Association of NSW (VRA) will soon have access to seamless communications coverage across the state, thanks to a $4.7 million investment by the NSW Government.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the new funding injection will overhaul the VRA’s radio network to bring it into line with the other emergency services.

“This multimillion-dollar boost will give our VRA volunteers access to a consistent and reliable radio network which is compatible with other agencies and guarantees their ability to communicate anywhere in NSW,” Cooke said.

“The VRA is the only agency in the state solely dedicated to rescue and its volunteers and staff have done an incredible job, particularly over the past 12 months supporting flood operations.

“The independent Flood Inquiry highlighted ways we can enhance our emergency response, and the NSW Government will continue to ensure first responders have the resources they need to keep regional, rural and remote communities safer and stronger.”

The funding will provide for 421 new radios and equip 100 vehicles with vehicle-as-a-node (VaaN) technology. The VaaN capability integrates radio, mobile phone and satellite networks to provide a communication system that is resistant to blackspots, which often occur when natural disasters impact infrastructure.

VRA Acting Commissioner Andrew Luke said the upgrade will also give volunteers access to a duress button that is centrally monitored.

“At the press of a button our members can request urgent assistance if they are in danger, enabling an immediate response,” Luke said.

“Being able to send and receive life-saving communications in all conditions is vital to the safety of everyone, including our 1218 members.”

Image credit: Metelev

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