NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) has taken out top honours for its second-generation Cell on Wheels at the 2021 SafeWork NSW Awards last night (Wednesday 27 October).
The Cell on Wheels won the ‘Outstanding solution to a high-risk work health and safety issue for workers at risk category’ at the awards, which recognise excellence in work health and safety.
The Cell on Wheels Generation 2 consists of a self-powered communications cell that sits on the back of an all-terrain four-wheel-drive truck. The communications cell helps expand the coverage of the Government Radio Network into areas where there is limited or no coverage, during emergency situations and training. Volunteers also benefit from improved voice clarity over greater distances, greater connectivity with the service’s State Operations Centre and other emergency services using the network.
NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin said the award is a testament to the work that has gone into developing the Cell on Wheels.
“Designed by NSW SES and built in collaboration with the NSW Telco Authority, it ensures our volunteers can still access vital radio communications in rural and remote areas,” Mr Austin said.
“Maintaining clear and open lines of communication is imperative to any successful emergency operation, whether it be responding to storms, floods or undertaking a land search and rescue.
“This adds a greater level of safety for our members, who are able to ensure they get important information about situations as they are developing without delay.
“A great example of this was when we used the Cell on Wheels during the massive land search for little Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak in September this year,” he said.
Mr Austin explained that the service has five Cell on Wheels, which are positioned at different locations around the state.
“This is to ensure we are able to quickly deploy them to any part of the state we need,” Mr Austin said.
“Once positioned to cover an area with poor or no radio coverage, the communications cell can then be run by a generator for at least two-and-a-half days.
“While the Cells on Wheels will undoubtedly assist our volunteers during emergency situations, they can also be utilised by our partner agencies as needed to support the safety of emergency services workers across the state,” he said.