Fire Brigade Flemish-Brabant West extinguishes IT fires with Paessler RTG
About the Brandweerzone Vlaams-Brabant West
The Brandweerzone Vlaams-Brabant West (Fire Brigade Flemish-Brabant West) is responsible for the 24/7 protection of 600,000 inhabitants of the Brussels outskirts. This safety region consists of 9 fire stations, an administrative center and a warehouse, all spread over 33 municipalities. The team has 650 employees, partly made up of volunteers. In addition to the classic fire service assignments, the Fire Department also provides urgent medical assistance. For this purpose, ambulances move out more than 50 times a day, compared with 30 times for the fire brigade. The safety region is led by a zonal fire rescue dispatch, which is manned day and night and coordinates the emergency aid.
When a fire brigade or an ambulance moves out, there are multiple things the emergency personnel need to know instantly: What is the exact location? What awaits them at the scene? What kinds of vehicles will be required? Information like this is displayed on screens at the fire station via the intranet. It can also be found on call sheets that roll out of the printer. But what if the intranet fails, the screens do not work, or the paper runs out? Fire brigade Flemish-Brabant West uses PRTG Network Monitor to prevent these kinds of problems.
Joeri Jacobs has been the system administrator at the Flemish-Brabant fire brigade since 2014. Together with a colleague, he is responsible for the IT infrastructure at all 10 locations in the region. The servers and applications, and also the printers and emergency power supply of the fire service, have to work day and night to ensure the protection of the 600,000 inhabitants of the Brussels periphery. Therefore, it is vital that the ICT team continuously monitors the status of the network as well as the systems.
“With the various sensors from PRTG we can measure almost anything, at all our locations. I check the temperature in the server rooms to see if the air conditioning is still working, for example. I also monitor the printers in the fire station. They must always function properly, because they print out the information sheets for the rescue team in case of an emergency.”
Joeri Jacobs, System Administrator at the Fire Brigade Flemish-Brabant West
Proactive management with clear reporting
The ICT team needs a clear overview of historical and current measurement results and data, like CPU load and bandwidth. As the previous tool did not offer this, Joeri decided in 2015 that the Fire Department was ready for a new monitoring software: "I had already met PRTG at my previous employer. With the free version I was able to demonstrate the efficiency of the tool internally at the Fire Department." Soon afterwards, he acquired a license with 1000 sensors via Belgian reseller Road2Result.
An accessible and intuitive monitoring tool is very important to Joeri: "To measure is to know. With PRTG we can immediately see why the accounting program is working slowly, for example. But usually it does not even get that far. PRTG regularly alerts us before anyone even notices something. That way we can intervene on time. That is proactive IT management at its best: It saves us a lot of time and complaints from users."
Crucial measurements are reassuring
Joeri monitors far more with PRTG than your standard servers, switches, websites and applications: "With the various sensors from PRTG we can measure almost anything, at all our locations. I check the temperature in the server rooms to see if the air conditioning is still working, for example. I also monitor the printers in the fire station. They must always function properly, because they print out the information sheets for the rescue team in case of an emergency.
PRTG not only checks whether the printers are on, but also whether there is enough paper in the machine and whether the toners still contain enough ink. In addition, PRTG checks the condition of the battery for the emergency power. The probability is very small, but if the power fails and the emergency power does not work, the entire network can go down. With PRTG, I am sure that this will not happen, and that gives real peace of mind."
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