Blue Light Camp: Coming in from the cold

It’s been a bit quiet on the BlueLightCamp blog recently. Apart from Sasha’s post last week, nothing since November. But that doesn’t mean no activity – on the contrary.

Hartley Wintney fire brigade members on board their fire engine in around 1935. Source: via Mark on Pinterest

Wheels are turning

Axles are being greased, gears are crunching, and the wheels are turning in preparation for BlueLightCamp: the unconference for emergency responders and those who work with them.

I’m also delighted to add: sponsors are sponsoring. Please take a few minutes to check out our generous sponsors on the Sponsors Page. Without them we’d not have much of an event.

If you are an emergency responder, local council, voluntary organisation or are just plain interested in how services can innovate using digital technology, please hold the last weekend of April (27th & 28th).

Police Sergeant William Padwick on his dog cart in 1909. Source: via Mark on Pinterest

There will definitely be an unconference (probably on the Saturday) and definitely a hack day (probably on the Sunday). Note we said ‘probably’ twice there.

Isn’t that a bit vague?

Well yes, but we’re working on it.

Nurse with little girl, bicycle and doll in around 1915. Source: via Mark on Pinterest

Devil in the detail

British APCO (BAPCO) are holding their Annual Exhibition on 29th and 30th April in Manchester Central. BAPCO have very generously agreed to be our Event Sponsor for BlueLightCamp, and have booked rooms for us at Manchester Central during the weekend. We’re working with them and the venue to try and get the right mix* of rooms for the different types of event.

We haven’t organised a hack event before, and – as Sasha mentioned last time – are absolutely delighted that Angus Fox of Multizone has joined the organising group. Angus has masses of experience of hacks, and will be focusing on that part of the event. We’ll tell you more about it shortly.

UK GovCamp

We were hoping to pitch a session at UK GovCamp on Saturday, but sadly Steph and Dave had to postpone because of the grotty weather. That disappointed everyone – like us – who planned to attend, but must have been incredibly frustrating for Steph, Dave and the other organisers who put so much effort in to planning what is always a fab event. We’re delighted to hear that IBM are going to make Southbank available on an alternative date, probably in February. See the UK GovCamp site for details.


Big respect to James Cattell, Lloyd Davis and others for #altUKGC13 which took place mostly in the Royal Festival Hall. James set-up a Google doc, Hangout and live-streamed conversations to YouTube. Whilst there were a few problems with the audio, it was possible to follow much of the proceedings. It was another great example of innovation and using a bit of digital tech to help bring people together online.

It also meant that I could go outside and make a snowman.


*If you’re interested in the detail:

    • an unconference typically needs a large room so everyone can get together at the beginning, meet for lunch, wrap-up at the end etc, but also a bunch of smaller rooms so multiple sessions can run simultaneously.
    • a hack event / day or ‘hackathon’ needs fewer, larger, rooms


Fire Engine, Police Dog Cart and Nurse via Hampshire Record Office Archives Catalogue

By Mark Braggins

Walking, usually with my two ex-racing greyhounds. Interested in lots of stuff. Work: Business Development and Research at Drawnalism