Fire service rollout achieves another major milestone

Published:  20 May, 2010

Scotland's eight fire and rescue services have become the first in the UK to begin operating a new state-of-the-art digital communication system. Airwave, now operational in over 1,100 fire service vehicles and 368 fire stations in Scotland, is part of a UK-wide project to provide the fire and rescue service with the equipment needed to respond to major emergencies including terrorism. When fully rolled out in July 2010, Airwave will be the new national communications service for the FRSs of England, Scotland and Wales.

Known to the FRS as Firelink, it replaces an outdated system, providing improved coverage, security, resilience and interoperability with other organisations such as the police and ambulance services which have also adopted Airwave.

David Sangster, Airwave’s Director of UK Services, said: “Delivery of Airwave to the fire and rescue service is a task of unprecedented proportions and is being achieved with minimal operational impact.  It’s fantastic to see it being used operationally, making a difference to the way in which fire and rescue services co-ordinate and manage their resources and respond to public safety issues.”

Fergus Ewing, Minister for Community Safety said: "Firelink represents a significant commitment to the safety and security of Scotland's communities. Scotland's fire and rescue services now have the most advanced communication system in the UK. "The Scottish Government's investment in greater functionality has given Scottish frontline firefighters an unrivalled ability to coordinate their emergency response. The successful delivery of this programme is testament to the excellent partnership working between the eight fire and rescue services, Scottish Government and Airwave."  

Airwave has been delivered to around 99% of the 7,800 fire and rescue service (FRS) vehicles nationwide.  It has been installed in over 7,700vehicles and is currently in use among 55 Fire and Rescue Services throughout Britain.

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