New 999 fire control system deal is agreed

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A NEW £3 million 999 control system is to be installed by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue – in a bid to save £400,000.

South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire fire authorities have signed a deal with company Systel to provide the new state-of-the-art system.

The project is mostly being funded by a government grant.

And fire chiefs say it will save the two authorities £400,000 a year in maintenance costs, which will be invested in frontline services.

The equipment will be used to receive 999 calls and dispatch emergency vehicles and will go live in 2014,

Coun Jim Andrews, from South Yorkshire Fire Authority, said: “This is excellent news for local people in our counties. We are getting a high-quality new system to handle 999 calls and despatch fire engines, at very little cost to local taxpayers.”

South Yorkshire deputy chief fire officer Mark Shaw said: “This new system is at the cutting edge of mobilising technology and ensures we will continue to provide a first-class 999 service to our local communities.

“By working together, we are not only delivering significant efficiencies at a time of severe financial constraint but also adding resilience for times of peak activity.

“The new system will operate across two control rooms in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and staff will be able to answer each other’s calls and despatch each other’s fire appliances.”

The grant was awarded because plans to open a regional control centre were scrapped in December 2010.

Fire and rescue authorities were urged to collaborate and bid for funding to upgrade their individual control systems.