Each year, just before the fire season, Visionstream’s Essential Services area managers come together to plan for the potential major events ahead.
The process of mapping out the locations, equipment and capabilities of our field workforce is one of the major reasons the team is so well prepared to respond when disaster strikes.
As bushfires burn across Australia, often they can damage vital communications networks. When this occurs it’s up to our people on the ground to go in and restore the services as soon as possible.
Visionstream has an extensive field workforce, located right across Australia, who are able to respond when a major disruption such as a bushfire occurs. Visionstream has been providing this service for many years.
“The pre-season plan is the key source of information used by our Network Operations Centre (NOC) to identify and dispatch technicians to sites that need to be restored following a bushfire or other natural disaster,” said NSW Area Manager John Wrigley.
Preparation is key to this service, as once disaster strikes it’s all systems go for both the NOC and the Visionstream techs and contractors.
“If there is a natural disaster which causes a major disruption our client will call us in, and that’s when we go to work,” John said.
“The client will tell us which sites are under threat and then it’s up to the NOC to utilise our resources in that area to attend the site, determine what has happened, and either re-establish it or initiate plans for getting it back on-line as soon as possible.
“At all times though, the safety of our people must be paramount.”
Unfortunately, there are times when a site is too dangerous to enter immediately following a natural disaster. In these instances, we dispatch crews and equipment to staging sites near the impacted zone so that they are ready to tend to a damaged site as soon as they have permission to enter safely.
While the work can sound daunting, John said that many of the techs and contractors have been doing this for a long time — and this experience is crucial.
“A lot of these people have been doing this for 15 – 20 years, they’re pretty skilled in what they do and so they know what to do when a major disruption hits,” John said.
“The core value of the people we employ in the field is that they are always there to support the network. They never want to fail.
This experience not only helps them to do the job but can prove vital in providing intelligence to authorities during bushfire events.
“We had a situation previously where a fire was heading towards a critical site at the top of a mountain that supported a lot of the communications for the rural fire service,” John said.
“We were able to alert the key people to this and they sent in the water bombers so that our contractors could get up there and save the site, enabling the communications for the fire service and other emergency services to continue without interruption.”