Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 11:48 UK

FireLink radio system to go live

Fire fighter
The new system helps communication between fire fighters

A new system to improve communications between fire fighters has been rolled out to the south of Scotland.

It is part of efforts to help control rooms respond to threats like terrorist attacks and other major emergencies.

The FireLink digital radio system will make it easier for fire fighters inside burning buildings to speak to colleagues on the outside.

It will also allow crews to speak to rescuers working underground, and with other services from across the UK.

The FireLink project will see the main radio system of every fire and rescue service in the UK replaced with, for the first time, a single wide-area communications capability.

'Highly professional'

It will allow fire appliances to work more effectively beyond their own regional boundaries, and communicate more easily with police and ambulance services.

The Dumfries and Galloway brigade will be the first in Scotland to use the system.

Details of the scheme were revealed by Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing during a visit to Dumfries.

He said it was important that fire services were as flexible as possible.

"We need to make sure that services are inter-operable so that if one is down another neighbouring service can step in and take over," he said.

"Dumfries and Galloway, I am pleased to say, is working with Cumbria as well.

"I am very confident that the fire services are ready to meet the challenges of the future and respond in a highly professional manner."


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