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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 17:27 GMT
Fire centres contract announced
A fire engine at a blaze
The centres will help the fire service deal with major incidents
A 200m contract to build a national network of nine regional fire service control centres has been awarded, the government has announced.

EADS Defence & Security Systems will build the state-of-the-art centres which will replace the 46 fire control rooms currently in operation.

Fire Minister Angela Smith said the centres would 'ultimately' cut the number of people killed in fires.

The contract awarded to EADS is worth 200m over eight years.

The nine centres will all be linked and back one another up during major incidents and provide a replacement service should one centre fail.

Each centre will have technology enabling them to immediately log the location of a member of the public calling for help.

However, the Fire Brigades Union has said the changes could hamper responses to any terrorist attacks and may hit frontline jobs.

'Save lives'

They will also use satellite positioning technology to work out which fire appliances, with the correct equipment on board, have the shortest travel time to an incident.

Fire Minister Angela Smith said: "The technology provided under this contract will help to identify the location of incidents more quickly and precisely.

"It will also ensure that the correct equipment is mobilised as quickly as possible, and provide firefighters with information on the incident location.

"Ultimately this will help to further reduce the number of lives lost to fire."

The introduction of the new centres is part of the Communities and Local Government's Fire Control project, which aims to enable the fire service to deal with major incidents.

Robin Southwell, of EADS UK, which provides aerospace, defence and related services.

He said: "Our programme is focused on sensitive and effective change management, ensuring a seamless transition and that staff receive the best possible training to support efficient use of the new system."




SEE ALSO
Fire control centre site unveiled
10 Aug 05 |  Leicestershire

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