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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 09:22 GMT
New fire control centre is opened
A new fire service control centre for the north-east of England is being officially opened in County Durham.

The complex replaces existing control rooms for the region's fire services in Northumberland, County Durham, Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

Fire Minister Parmjit Dhanda was performing the ceremony at the centre at Belmont, near Durham City on Monday.

The centre is one of nine making up a new national network which replaces 46 local control rooms.

Union fears

The Fire Brigades Union had expressed fears the move could result in vital local knowledge being lost.

But the government said the changes were needed to deal with major regional or national incidents.

The region is served by four fire services - Tyne and Wear, Durham and Darlington, Northumberland and Cleveland.

Fire service bosses said the new centre will be able to deploy appliances to incidents more effectively.

It will also provide information direct to the firefighting vehicle's cab about routes to sites, floor plans and hazards, water supplies and even how to dismantle various types of cars.



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The new control centre



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