Saturday, April 20, 2024

Selwyn fires up new forest sensors

Selwyn District Council has installed new cutting-edge technology to help in the detection of fires in McHughs Forest Park near Darfield.

The Council, in partnership with Spark New Zealand, yesterday marked the official launch and installation of three fire sensor poles that use a combination of thermal imaging, 360° cameras, and air quality technology to monitor environmental conditions and will notify emergency services if any sign of fire is detected.

The data will also be made live to the public through Council’s partnership with technology innovator, Attentis. 

The app can be used to monitor real-time conditions in the forest, its walking trails and the popular fairy doors walk. A QR code is located on signage at McHughs Forest Park and will be shared via Selwyn District Council’s website. 

This project has also seen a strong collaboration with Christchurch City Council, who are trialing the same technology in Bottle Lake Forest. 

Selwyn Mayor, Sam Broughton said the sensors were a great example of embracing new technology to improve safety and enjoyment of the district. 

“It’s exciting to have this technology available for McHughs Forest and for what it could mean for the future of Selwyn,” he said.

“Having real-time, 24-hour monitoring in place ready to alert emergency services is extremely important, but it’s also a great example of how we can embrace technology to help people explore and enjoy the district, safely.”

(L-R) Councillor Malcom Lyall, Michele Wong of Spark, Wayne Hamilton of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Cameron McKenna of Attentis, Councillor Lydia Gliddon (Malvern Ward).

Spark IoT (Internet of Things) lead, Michele Wong says the early fire detection sensors demonstrate how relevant data and edge processing combined with the appropriate IoT cellular network services can provide situational awareness in areas where speed of information can be hugely important. 

“We are excited to work with Selwyn District Council on the deployment of their early fire detection networks. The project has generated some interest with other councils, commercial forestry operation and other organisations actively considering the technology solution,” she said.

Attentis Managing Director, Cameron McKenna said the technology was instrumental in delivering a proactive response to public safety.

“And I am particularly proud to work alongside a team of individuals who prioritise this,” he said.

Council says the success of the partnership also depends on the critical collaboration with Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

District Manager, Dave Stackhouse says, “Fire and Emergency NZ has worked collaboratively with Selwyn District Council on this project, and we congratulate them on using technology to help reduce the impact of fire on our community.”

The sensors are self-powered and use a combination of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technology—a system of interrelated computers and machines that can transfer data across a network without needing people-to-people or people-to-computer interaction.

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