Responding to emergencies more effectively with technology-enabled collaboration
3 mins read
We’re helping neighbouring fire services to work together to ensure people get the emergency help they need as quickly as possible.
With 999 control rooms costing millions of pounds a year to run, many fire and rescue services are merging their command and control operations to keep costs at a sustainable level whilst providing the highest quality service to their communities.
Surrey and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services joined together as part of a government drive to foster fire service collaboration. As Surrey was already using our intuitive command, control and communications technology – Vision DS - it was decided to transfer West Sussex’s operational data from its legacy command and control system onto Surrey’s existing platform, using Capita’s extensive experience of moving and analysing data to deliver the project on time and to budget.
Making it easier to deploy the best response
Our intuitive control room technology combines high-performance command, control and communications with integrated mapping. It allows control room staff to keep track of all the fire and rescue service’s resources, equipment and appliances with intelligent automation to highlight available resources, making it easier to deploy the best response to an emergency. Our solution also supports services with pooling their resources by being able to integrate extra modules and third‑party applications, making it fully interoperable with existing systems.
Thanks to Surrey’s and West Sussex’s determination and drive, and everyone’s willingness to work together to achieve a common goal, the project took less than six months. Great care was taken to ensure no loss of system availability to ensure continuous provision of mission-critical services.
The collaborative approach, combined with our data expertise and understanding of fire and rescue services, resulted in a joint emergency control room running services from a shared platform, providing greater value for money and improved operational benefits for each service.
Operators can send the nearest and most suitable appliance or piece of equipment to emergencies, regardless of where in West Sussex or Surrey they happen. The two fire services are no longer divided by the county line and their unified response to calls for help means that citizens benefit from more resources available to deal with emergencies, resulting in improved service levels while saving money.
Next step is for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to join their Surrey and West Sussex colleagues in the joint emergency control room - in 2021 - for even further reaching benefits for communities.
Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, West Sussex Chief Fire Officer, said: “The new 999 combined control room provides an efficient and effective emergency call handling service for West Sussex.”
“Our mobilising control system is state of the art and has the capacity to take a high volume of emergency calls. This arrangement will increase our resilience and is likely to result in efficiency savings.”
Steve Owen-Hughes, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer