London Fire Brigade signs call ID and data sharing deal

Capital’s new control centre contract will replace FireControl plan

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has signed a £19.6m control room contract
intended to deliver improvements including better call identification and
data sharing with other emergency services.

A replacement for the LFB’s existing control centre IT contract with
Motorola, which expires in 2014, was due to have been delivered through
the government’s £469m FireControl project.

FireControl was to have reduced the number of fire service control rooms
across the UK from 46 to nine.

John Anthony, project director for control and mobilising services at
the LFB, who was the London representative for FireControl, said that
because of the failure of the project, the LFB has had to replace the
existing system itself.

It has signed a 10 year contract with Capita and Anthony says that one
of the main aims of the deal is improve is the exchange of data between
the LFB, the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service and possibly
utilities companies.

“At the moment we have a lot of voice communications with them and we
want to look at moving over to data transfer because it frees our staff for
call taking,” he said.

“We already have some technology that provides call identification, but
the new system will improve the efficiency of that.”

The LFB also wants to introduce “dynamic mobilising” so that the nearest
fire engine is automatically sent to an incident.

“Now we base the vehicle sent out on the nearest fire station, which may
not be the nearest fire appliance,” said Anthony. “Using automatic vehicle
location, we will know where the nearest appliance is, irrespective of
which station the appliance belongs to.”

The Capita-run control system will be run from LFB’s current control
centre in Merton, which was originally intended to be one of nine regional
control rooms set up for 20-25 years under FireControl.

Anthony said that the brigade moved into the Merton building in January,
with an arrangement with the Department for Communities and Local
Government to pay two-thirds of the cost of the lease.

“Another key thing is that we have our main control system on a fall back
system, but we want to work with other fire services so we can share fall
back and resilience, which will improve services and reduce costs,” said
Anthony.

“We will be working with Capita to achieve these aims.”

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