Surrey and Isle of Wight have begun an innovative communications collaboration enabling them to contact any supporting Emergency Service in the south of England at the touch of a button.

By developing a joint emergency control centre the two regions Blue Light chiefs have managed to reduce costs and improve service provision which Simon Chandler says embodies the Coalition Government's localised approach.

The Telecoms and Technology Systems Manager at Surrey Fire & Rescue Service, Chandler, said: "Just before the Coalition came to power and threw the RCC [Regional Control Centre] directive out, control rooms contained ageing equipment which was often no longer supported and replacement parts were scarce.

"Continuing down this route was unacceptable - people's lives depend on these calls so we upgraded to Cyfas CX3000 Integrated Control Room System because it would help future-proof the control centre by providing additional capabilities and scalability. It enabled our operators to make, take and manage calls from both telephone and Airwave (radio) talk groups from a single touch screen."

Surrey Fire & Rescue's innovative direction was compatible with their Isle of Wight counterparts through a previous mobile data collaboration, so they joined forces. Surrey had been in discussions with them about a collaboration to increase speed of service while lowering running costs by merging 999 control rooms. 

"These are exciting times. We can collaborate to improve systems based on our niche working knowledge," added Chandler.

The merged control room's 999 call volumes are expected to reach 1000 per month with the number of available Airwave talk groups more than doubling to ensure Surrey is the only landlocked Emergency Service to have a 'call coastguard' button on every 999 call operator's screen.

Posted 24/04/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com