The new systems are used by Control Room operators to take 999 fire calls and to communicate with and despatch fire appliances to incidents.
The £3.6m contract is being funded following a successful joint bid to the Government to replace their mobilising systems which are both due for replacement. Northumberland and Tyne and Wear each received £1.8M.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service are working in partnership to implement a new resilient system to replace their ageing systems. Each fire and rescue service will be able to take the other's calls using the new system, increasing resilience and removing the need for secondary control rooms in each fire and rescue service. To increase resilience further they are also looking at working with another fire and rescue service in the UK so that on a rare occasion when both Control Rooms may be unable to take emergency calls due to a large number of simultaneous incidents, the other Fire and Rescue Service could take the calls.
The new system will utilise the very latest voice and data communications technology that will enhance the current call handling and appliance despatch process. It includes connection to Airwave, which is a radio/data network system used by all emergency services to communicate with each other.
Both Fire and Rescue Service's current systems have been in place for 15 years and are due to be replaced in 2014. The Services are working to ensure that the new system will be up and running in June 2013.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service's Control Room will be relocated from Morpeth to its Headquarters at West Hartford whilst Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue's Control Room will be relocated from Newcastle West Community Fire Station in West Denton to its Headquarters at Barmston in Washington.
Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "The new system will be a huge asset, especially for our excellent Control Room staff and frontline firefighters. It will ensure that we are able to use the latest technology to continue to provide one of the fastest response times in the country, and more importantly keep our community safe. It will significantly increase our resilience and further strengthen our partnership with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service."
Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Alex Bennett, said: "This funding is welcome news for both Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. It is important that we use new technology to build on the emergency services that we provide to ensure that we continue to operate safely and efficiently. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Tyne and Wear to ensure that control room officers and firefighters are well prepared for the implementation of the new systems next year.”
Chris Metcalfe, Managing Director for telent’s Technology Solutions business said “I am delighted that Northumberland and Tyne and Wear have recognised telent’s expertise in the integration and support of mission critical Command and Control systems. Telent are proud to be involved with this key project, and we are looking forward to helping both Northumberland and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services achieve their objectives through the deployment of new technology and services.”
With annual revenues of over £300 million, telent has decades of experience in supplying a broad range of network and communications services. Today, the privately-held company employs approximately 1,500 people and has an engineering field force that covers the entire UK. Customers include: BT, Virgin Media, Sky, Arqiva, Vodafone, Merseyside Fire & Rescue, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, Network Rail, Train Operations, and London Ambulance Service.