Single command and control system for three UK fire services

Published:  03 May, 2016

A new command and control system has gone live for Devon & Somerset, Dorset & Wiltshire and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Services.

The single system has been implemented under a programme that is estimated to save the three services, who jointly serve a population in excess of five million, over US$20 million by 2024.

Control rooms in Exeter, Devizes and Eastleigh are now networked by a single system that is expected to enable all three services to work closer together, share resources during busy periods and help to enhance service levels.

The new system is the result of a partnership formed by four fire services in 2012. Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon & Somerset and Hampshire FRS pioneered the Networked Fire Control Services Partnership to create an open framework for the procurement of a range of services and software provision. This includes a command and control mobilisation system, integrated command control systems and automatic call distribution systems.

The collaborative partnership sought to improve the resilience of all member fire and rescue services and also deliver cost savings whilst enhancing their existing control centre functionality.

As a result of fire grant cuts in 2010 by the UK Government the number of Partnership members was reduced to three. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Services merged on 1 April this year in a move that is expected to save around US$8 million per year.

In July 2013 the Networked Fire Control Services Partnership awarded Capita the eight-year contract to provide a new command and control centre system to the then four fire services.

According to Capita, the three FRSs will benefit from increased efficiencies through the deployment of a secure, shared infrastructure for telephony, airwave radio and data centres. In addition, combined training for the region’s call operators will result in standardised working practices and a wide support network of knowledge, skills and experience. 

John Aldridge, Chair of the NFCSP strategic board said: ‘The Partnership will now be using the latest in control and command technology, which provides the platform for an enhanced service across the region. It will provide the three services with an awareness of overall operational activity and resource use across the control rooms.

‘This will enable the quickest, most appropriate response to an incident – regardless of geographical boundaries – and provide our communities with better protection. By sharing a technology platform we are able to increase resilience across the region - if one service is under pressure for whatever reason, the others will be able to provide full support.’

  • Operation Florian

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