2015 – the year of the Eye

999eye final

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015

2014 saw West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) presenting this project at a range of  emergency service events helping us to secure support and form a collaboration of services to work together in 2015 to utilise technology to enhance the services we deliver to the communities we serve.

We ended on a high note with a collaboration event in December where we welcomed over 100 guests representing emergency services from up and down the UK. The day allowed for vibrant discussion and outlined the benefits, risks, challenges and opportunities this project offers.

collaboration event collaboration event 2

The presentation material is all available on the link below –

Prezi, 999eye presentation

In order to make the West Midlands Safer, at West Midlands Fire Service we believe we have a responsibility to deliver services across;

  • Prevention – Stopping you getting Hurt
  • Protection – teaching, talking listening
  • Response – Getting the right people to the right place at the right time

We are judged by what we say and what we do, so before we change anything  in order to improve or stand firm by our principles we use evidence to back up our decision.

Evidence tells us that if we spend valuable time identifying and supporting our vulnerable and working with partners to reduce risk we make West Midlands safer.

Evidence tells us that if we spend valuable time, Listening, advising and teaching alongside our partners we reduce the risks and make West Midlands safer.

Evidence tells us that if you are trapped in a vehicle, collapsed structure, chemical spill, building on fire if we don’t get a response to you in 5 minutes your survival rate plummets and your recovery care costs beyond this increase.

999 eye is one internally driven innovation project that we hope will have a positive impact and support us and our partners in our goal to make the West Midlands safer.

In February 2015 we will announce the finalised group of collaboration services in addition to West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance service that will work together to pilot 999 eye in the UK in 2015.

We have an exciting year ahead and look forward to more engagement with you all.

If you are from the West Midlands and want to see more of what we do follow us on twitter @westmidsfire, Facebook page and on the web at WMFS.net

Looking to the future

999eye final

This week we were joined by Charlotte Cross from ITV see the link below.

 ITV NEWS Coverage of 999eye – youtube

Charlotte had researched 999eye prior to attending and was keen to cover the story in a news piece.

During her visit we discussed at length the project and the application of technology, the benefits and also the concerns some members of the community may have around the use of data.

West Midlands Fire Service are committed to providing the best possible service in Prevention Protection and Response and everything we do has this mentality as a measure. We belive that 999eye represents just one example of a wide range of innovative and forward thinking service solutions and enhancements we are working on.

999eye will not replace the verbal call but from a service perspective may, on occasions improve the service we currently deliver across prevention, protection and response. 999eye will offer our communities another way to communicate effectively with us.

Feedback following the news piece has seen the story shared across facebook from ITV centrals facebook page, discussion is being generated and helping us to ensure we are on the right track.

Charlotte and the team at ITV did a nice job of covering the story.


As we look to the future we are preparing to invite representatives from the other services to join us at an even at WMFS HQ in December 2014.

This will be an opportunity for each service to see and understand the system and commit to joining us in a pilot of 999eye in 2015.

999eye goes International

aeroplaneSitting here in Dusseldorf airport awaiting a flight back to the UK I thought it would be an ideal time to update you on what’s been happening with 999eye over the past week.

On Tuesday this week we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to present 999eye to the UK Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt. Penny was in Birmingham for the Conservative Party Conference and took time out of her busy schedule to listen to our ideas and explain the benefits this could bring to Control Rooms across the Country.

Shortly after leaving the meeting with the Fire Minister WMFS representatives with 999eye were heading across the City to Birmingham Airport to head out to the CCR Summit taking place in the Netherlands. we were invited to speak at the event following our very first blog about 999eye. The Summit was focused on public safety and homeland security and therefore 999eye was suitably placed at this event.

Prior to WMFS presentation, Matt Andrews a Sergeant from London Metropolitan Police talked about lessons learned from the 2011 London riots. Interestingly one of the lessons learned was the use of images, videos, data from social media as intelligence to support resource management. This was a great point for usto draw from during the 999eye presentation.

There were various delegates in the room during the presentation ranging from Police, Fire and Ambulance representatives from Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and even Canada. The presentation sparked many conversations and we were overwhelmed by the number of people wishing to discuss it with us in more detail.

The last two days have seen many discussions about 999eye at the Summit with lots requesting further discussions about how they can support the project and look to implement across their various disciplines. we had discussions with representatives from Belgium who are interested for WMFS to talk about 999eye at a further event.

If you are interesting in 999eye and would like to discuss it in more detail please get in touch by emailing matthew.wroughton@wmfs.net  or twitter @999eye1 @WestMidsFire @Bluelighthinkin

If you have any comments about the CRR Summit presentation or the blog in general, please leave a comment on here. We look forward to reading all feedback.

Streaming ahead

Welcome to an update of the Emergency Smartphone live Stream project 999eye,being developed by West  Midlands Fire Service.

Thanks to all who have supported and shared information about our project so far.

As a result we have had opportunities to share information with other UK emergency services about the project and have a number of UK services signed up to join us in a UK pilot currently aiming at Jan 2015.

This week we have demonstrated the first release of the software, to demonstrate the concept and capabilites. This has enabled us to send a link to a smartphone during calls and then see the callers view of the location they are reporting.


As a refresh to new readers we do not aim to use this on all calls and would only use it with the consent of the caller and once we have already mobilised an emergency response to the call.

We have drafted a full privacy impact assessment to ensure we satisfy the requirements of the legislation we are committed to comply with as emergency services and also to ensure we protect the rights of members of the public that wish to stream footage to aid our response and information for responders on the way to assist.


We have received interest from services and interested parties from around the world and are really pleased with the opportunities to collaborate with a multi agency approach.

Please continue to share this blog and follow us on twitter @999eye1 @westmidsfire  @bluelighthinkin  for regular updates on this and other WMFS  projects.

If you are at the emergency services show at the NEC on 24th and 25th September come and find us on the WMFS Stand.

We will also be presenting the project on 24th during the seminar sessions, see the Emergency Services Show website for more details.
Emergency Services Show

If you would like to discuss this project with the project team email bluelighthinkin@wmfs for more.

Thanks again for your continued support.


999eye Seeking Emergency Services to Create a Powerful Coalition

West Midlands Fire Service UK,  are developing 999eye as an interim step into the digital future.


Have you ever called the emergency services? Would it have helped if they could have seen the incident through your smart phone lens?

Do you receive emergency calls: 999/112/911/111? Can you think of occasions it would help to see what the caller is describing?

Are you an emergency responder? How beneficial would it be to have images of what you are en route to, before you get there?

Statistics show that in the UK alone, over 40 million people will be using smart phones by 2017 and emergency services receive most calls for response from mobile phones.

Multiple case studies are available demonstrating the impact and capabilities of technology, social media, and citizens’ desire to be proactive when seconds count.

We live in an age where we have seen the birth of the ‘Citizen Reporter’ – releasing images and footage to the world of scenes of carnage, whilst others are on a phone attempting to convey the scene verbally to emergency services.

Emergency services are looking for the best practice with social media and how to monitor and pick up on any on-the-ground information from there that will aid them in responding effectively.

West Midlands Fire Service is keen to raise the profile of this project and feel this system offers a great interim step to enhance the current 999/112/111 systems.

It will be utilised to enable, on appropriate occasions, a smarter response to emergencies –  right resources in the right place responding with as much information as possible.

The key points about the system.

  • Point to point streaming during a 999 call (not like mainstream video calling systems etc that utilise a midpoint server)
  • Another form of mapping for accurate location, WIFI, GPS and Cell
  • Service initiated system with consent / opt outs from both parties
  • No impact on the current 999 emergency call system
  • No recording on the smart phone, only at the service end
  • Suitable for any agency
  • Equality Impact Assessment
  • A system that can be used by anyone with the ability to use a smart phone

WMFS are on a programme to develop and deliver this system we want to share it and offer it out to all Cat 1 agencies where possible for free.

We are looking for any Emergency Service that would be interested in piloting this product with us and ask you to contact us if you would like further or specific information about the implications of your service being involved.

Please raise it with your organisation; we will be hosting a coalition day at West Mids.

This software is just weeks away from being produced – all that is missing is you.

Follow us on twitter @westmidsfire & @999eye1