North Yorkshire and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Authorities have approved a business case for the two Fire and Rescue Services to share a single mobilising system* within their Control Rooms.
Both Services have their own control room, with the North Yorkshire one being based in Northallerton. Currently all 999 calls received by the emergency operators are directed to this Control room so that information can be obtained and appropriate fire engines and other resources can be dispatched to the incident.
Under the new collaboration arrangements Cornwall’s Control Room will be able to seamlessly receive calls and dispatch resources on behalf North Yorkshire (and vice versa), during busy periods.
The main cause of busy periods for both Services is severe weather and when this happens, 999 callers cannot always get through to the Control Room immediately. This new arrangement increases capacity to deal with the higher call volume, as Cornwall and North Yorkshire tend not to be affected by severe weather at the same time due to their distance geographically.
This is the only project in the country where such a remote collaboration is being put in place to ensure the likelihood of both control rooms being inundated with calls at the same time is reduced to a minimum.
As both Services receive a manageable number of 999 calls, other than at times of severe weather, this new arrangement allows for a reduction in the number of Control Room staff on duty in each Control Room, particularly at night time. This will enable the combined capacity across both Control Rooms to be higher than at present for a single Control Room, but at less cost.
To assist with this work both Fire Authorities received a grant from central Government which has covered the cost of putting in a single mobilising system.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority Chairman, Cllr John Fort said: This project will provide a better service to people calling for the fire and rescue service in each area and will save taxpayers money.
It will ensure the future of a Control Room in North Yorkshire and Rescue Service, providing the best service for the public.