New control room for Shropshire

A new Incident Control Centre for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has just gone “live” after the cancellation of the national Fire Control Project in December 2010.

“Cancellation of the national Fire Control Project left us with a system well past it’s sell by date. We had to act.” Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said today after the publication of the report into the failure of the Regional Control Centre which would have moved the service out of the county.

“Can you imagine having a computer at home that you bought in 1997 and relying on it for your safety? That is what we were left with after the failure of the national project,” said Mr Raymond.

The new control room in Shrewsbury employs local staff but will have links to Hereford and Worcester fire service’s control room so that fire crews can be jointly mobilised to large scale incidents similar to severe flooding experienced over the past few years.

It will mean that fire chiefs can ensure the nearest fire engine will always get to any incident, assured the fire chief.

“Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has also bought the same system so that the two control rooms can be linked.

“It will mean for example that a 999 call to Wooferton on the A49 south of Ludlow, just on the border, may go to either Hereford and Worcester or Shrewsbury control rooms but fire engines from Ludlow, Tenbury or Leominster could be used to get to the incident as quickly as possible.”

“A number of other services are also interested in joining this “matrixed” system which is significantly cheaper than the predicted costs of the regional system,” said Mr Raymond.

The cost of the whole matrixed system for the West Mercia area will cost over £2 million and both fire and rescue authorities are bidding for government funds to cover these costs.

“As we are installing local systems that still deliver state of the art technology we are very hopeful of central government funding.

“We hope that Government will see that we are acting and taking responsibility locally for our fire and rescue service and that they can help us financially,” the Chief Officer said.

21st September, 2011