Government funds £1.8 million for new Fire Control for Shropshire

Control room operator Sandra Davies explains how the new fire control centre works to Fire Minister Bob Neill and Telford and Wrekin Council leader Kudlip Sahota during the opening of the new Shropshire fire HQ earlier this year.

The Government has agreed to fully fund the £1.8 million needed to run a new “state of the art” control centre which has improved the speed of firefighter call outs in Shropshire, it was revealed today.

A jubilant Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond today welcomed the funding boost.

“I am delighted that we have been awarded the full amount of funding that we bid for. We can now pay for the state of the art 999 system without further impact on the pockets of local tax payers.

“We believe that our new control room, linked to Hereford and Worcester will improve the efficiency of our call handling function and improve our resilience and emergency response for local people.”

The control room, which opened earlier this year in the revamped Shropshire fire HQ in Shrewsbury, manages the Service’s emergency 999 calls. It replaced a 15 year old system.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is developing its new 999 system with Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service in a joint project for a shared resilient control room with common operational, technological and procedural practices. It will operate from twin locations in Shropshire and Worcestershire so that both services can work together during major incidents and in exceptionally busy periods.

Councillor Stuart West, Chair of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We purposely did not invest in our current control room for a number of years because we believed the regional control facility was imminent.

“However, the coalition Government believed the regional project was not cost effective and devolved the responsibility back to the fire authorities. We welcome this funding announcement as it will enable us to provide an improved service for the residents of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

“I am also pleased that our colleagues in Hereford and Worcester will also benefit from Government investment in local emergency services.”

2nd March, 2012