News : Fire and Rescue Services Collaborate
March 12, 2014 -- Emergency callers trying to get hold of the fire service in Cornwall may now be transferred to a call centre in North Yorkshire in an innovative collaboration.
The link between Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will see calls made to either control room during busy periods redirected to the other - in a move it is said will increase capacity and cut costs.
Both services will retain their own control room and only pick up the extra calls during high volume periods.
A spokesman for Cornwall Council said it is most likely the new arrangement would come in to action in bouts of severe weather, with the Duchy and North Yorkshire seldom affected by the same weather system at the same time.
She said the new arrangements would increase the capacity of the control rooms but reduce costs.
"This is the only project in the country where such a remote collaboration is being put in place, to ensure the likelihood of both control rooms being inundated with calls at the same time is reduced to a minimum," she said
"As both services receive a manageable number of 999 calls, other than at times of severe weather, this new arrangement allows for a reduction in the number of control room staff on duty to answer 999 calls, particularly at night time.
"However, this will not reduce the number of staff on duty in Cornwall as they will be utilised for wider roles to assist other council departments outside normal office hours.
"This will enable the combined capacity across both control rooms to be higher than at present for a single control room, but at less cost."
Both fire authorities received Government grants in order to cover the cost of putting in a single mobilising system.
Cornwall’s control room is currently based in Truro but is set to move to a new purpose built facility at Tolvaddon in January 2015.
Currently all 999 calls received by emergency operators are directed to the Truro control room, so that information can be obtained and fire engines and other resources dispatched. But under the new arrangements the control room in Cornwall will also be able to receive calls and dispatch resources on behalf North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service during busy periods
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities, Geoff Brown, said:: "This project will provide a better service to people calling for the fire and rescue service in each area and will save taxpayers money.
"It will ensure the future of a control room in Cornwall providing the best service for the public."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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