A key milestone has been reached in a project that will see Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authorities operating a shared emergency control service.
"Staff in the control centre received extensive training on the new system before it went live this week. The technology is more efficient than the system that we previously used in Staffordshire and enables seamless mobilisation and management of both Fire and Rescue Authorities."
Chairman of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Len Bloomer
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is now using the ‘Vision’ system, which was already running in the West Midlands, to record and monitor incidents and mobilise crews.
The shared service was announced in 2011 and received £3.6 million from an £81 million Government fund set up to help Fire and Rescue Services in England improve their control command systems.
The local model is being phased in over two stages and will eventually see Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Fire Service introduce a shared control centre based at the West Midlands’ headquarters on Vauxhall Road in Birmingham.
The shared service is being launched to maximise efficiency and increase resilience. The priority is to ensure that communities in both areas continue to receive a first class fire control service. It will be up and running next year.
Chairman of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Len Bloomer said: "Staff in the control centre received extensive training on the new system before it went live this week. The technology is more efficient than the system that we previously used in Staffordshire and enables seamless mobilisation and management of both Fire and Rescue Authorities.
"Developing a shared control centre is a major, sensitive project which is why we have worked closely with our colleagues in the West Midlands to ensure a smooth two-part transition. We will continue to work with our partner to introduce common operational procedures, ways of working and staffing levels.
"Sets of data will be shared, leading to increased understanding of risk across the entire area covered by both Services thereby improving community and firefighter safety. I would like to sincerely thank everybody that has been involved in the project so far, particularly the team leaders, Rebecca Bryant from Staffordshire and Philip Hales from the West Midlands."
Councillor John Edwards, Chair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "We’re very pleased to be delivering, with our colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority, an excellent mobilising service to serve both of our areas. The whole project is on time and within budget, and we are delighted with the progress to date."