SA Country Fire Service

SA Country Fire Service
SA Country Fire Service (CFS) is a government funded volunteer fire service, servicing 6 regions across the state, with 425 brigades, almost 200 staff, over 13,500 volunteers, and more than 3,500 telecom services.

Cost of Management

  • Transparency and access to data has replaced days of manual work per month
  • Devices, services, and locations mapped in an asset registry for visibility

of Fleet

  • Identification of redundant and cancelled but still billed services
  • Introducing responsive service and device optimisation on an as needed basis


  • Significantly improved visibility, reporting, and analysis capabilities
  • Rolling out autonomy to 425 sites while maintaining processes and approvals


  • 3X return on investment in Bluewater

The Challenge

Working in remote areas during extreme conditions means that each brigade has its own fleet of radios, mobile devices, Wi-Fi devices, laptops, and services including Telstra, Optus, and satellite networks to ensure they’re always in communication. The existing telephony at the brigades was installed in the 80s, and updated in a piecemeal fashion with low visibility over what devices and services were at each of the sites.

The Telecommunications Technical Officer at CFS serves as the central point of call for all of the volunteer-run brigades when they have a billing question, a variance to investigate, or need to manage or update their mobile fleet.

“We had minimal visibility,” says the  Telecommunications Technical Officer. Whenever a brigade had a billing question, it would take days to manually track down all the information from bills and spreadsheets. With 425 brigades, “managing that was virtually impossible”.

CFS tested out another technology platform before trying Bluewater, but said it wasn’t at the level needed.

Working with 1Solution to manage their telecom expense, CFS was introduced to Bluewater, and “met our operational requirements and more.”

The Solution

CFS is focused on a holistic use of the Bluewater platform, including billing and reporting, using profiles to match services and devices with their locations, building an accurate asset register, and streamlining their procurement processes.

The Teleommunications Technical Officer is leading an organisation-wide telephony upgrade project and says Bluewater has been instrumental in understanding the changes it will have on their billing.

Part of this project will be empowering each of the sites to have control over their own billing and fleet management through access to Bluewater. With the number of volunteers fluctuating at each site year on year, tracking which site had what services was leading to unused services going unnoticed for years. When a service is no longer needed, sites will be able to remove it from their bill (or add a new one in) and order hardware by themselves, a massive improvement in processes.

Ordering hardware through the Bluewater platform initiates that device’s lifecycle tracking, which includes what service, user, and location it’s assigned to. Sites will be able to update that lifecycle as it changes, including identifying when it’s no longer in use and the service can be cancelled or reassigned.

With more than 100 network accounts being pulled into Bluewater, Bebbington says it’s given him the ability to pull reports and show the impact of the platform to executives in five minutes. “It gives us a better understanding of our network and we can identify information in a very short amount of time. It’s bringing us into the 21st century and streamlining our processes, providing cost savings through more efficient workflows.”

The Outcome

Adding on the identification of services that were no longer in use, this adds up to a substantial amount that will be saved over a five-year period.

In terms of operational savings, the Telecommunications Technical Officer has gained back a week each month on analysis and reporting since implementing Bluewater and will gain a further week back once sites are able to procure their own hardware.

The regional commanders on site won’t have to wait for an answer to their queries anymore, either. With access to the portal, they’ll be able to settle billing discrepancies themselves, getting answers in minutes, not days, and “get a clear indication every month of their spend.”

There’s more to come, too. the Telecommunications Technical Officer estimates he’s only utilising 10% of Bluewater’s capability, and with more users on the platform it’ll unlock even more savings across spend and operational improvements, which can be reinvested into keeping the fleet and services up to date.

The partnership with Bluewater emerged as a significant change, offering a solution that not only led to significant cost savings but also became a reliable source of truth for service locations. The advanced reporting tools have elevated the way CFS communicates spending to stakeholders, ensuring transparency and accountability at every level.
Paul Bebbington
Telecommunications Technical Officer
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