Four fire and rescue services in the South have welcomed the award of a £7.2m grant from the Government.
Devon and Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Services have formed the Networked Fire Control Services Partnership to develop the future provision of their Fire Control services.
The Government grant will enable the partnership to take advantage of the latest technology to track the location and movement of individual fire engines and share important operational information with fire and rescue crews. The partnership approach will lead to efficiencies in procurement and by sharing the technical infrastructure.
Under the proposals, each fire and rescue service will retain its own fire control, providing significant operational benefits in incident management and ensuring that the professional expertise of Control staff continues to support service delivery and enhance firefighter safety.
However, the partnership will also provide a networked mobilising system which will improve operational resilience. Each fire and rescue service will be able to deal with the full range of call handling and mobilising functions of one or more of the other services at busy times caused by severe weather such as flooding or during a large-scale incident.
Chief Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service John Bonney, said:
“We are pleased to receive this funding, although slightly disappointed that some aspects of our bid have not been fully supported. However we remain confident that we can deliver the project, which will not only help create a more advanced Hampshire control centre but will ensure that we are able to take the opportunity to deliver a more effective response, enhance the provision of information to the incident, and improve the co-ordination of operational resources across the four services. We welcome the support of the DCLG to fund our joint bid.”
Chairman of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Councillor Royston Smith added:
“We welcome Government support for what is now a locally based project. It will enable us to provide an even more effective and resilient service.”