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Forest Service, CAL FIRE Deploy Wireless Video Fire Surveillance System

Dubbed “FIRE SAFE,” the new system uses multiple high-definition PTZ cameras strategically placed throughout California's El Dorado County.

California-based Vicom Wireless says it has completed deployment of a microwave-linked video system for the U.S Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection District (CAL FIRE).

Vicom calls it one of the most cost-effective and advanced forest fire surveillance and detection systems in the world.

“At Vicom Wireless, we agree with President Obama’s push to build new innovative, high-speed broadband networks in areas with no service,” said James Cinquini, president of Vicom Wireless. “Our system now helps protect over 31 million acres of private and public forests in California, and it serves as a model for other states.”

Dubbed “FIRE SAFE,” the new system uses multiple high-definition PTZ cameras strategically placed throughout California’s El Dorado County. These cameras connect to wireless broadband Ethernet radios that transmit high-speed (200 Mbps) video surveillance data back to the command center in Camino, Calif.

Once in the Command Center, all camera images are displayed on a 52-inch monitor so fire dispatch personnel can view all or only one camera at a time. Each camera displays compass and elevation information that is used to accurately triangulate and precisely locate a fire, establish its size and direction, and identify access roads that could be used for appropriate fire fighting resources.

“The FIRE SAFE system replaces earlier methods of staffing lookout towers and dispatching aircraft that often times needed to fly from faraway places at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars a year,” said Cinquini. “Our system saves that money and provides the same information at a fraction of the cost. As this surveillance application proves itself, Vicom Wireless stands ready to assist other Federal and State fire agencies to design and deploy their own networks and take advantage of this great technology.”

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