Firefighter hosing in smoke

One week on Essex 999 fire control system still in chaos

A week has passed since the new ‘state of the art’ control system for Essex collapsed and yet the FBU continues to receive reports of continued failings and faults with the system.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service began using the new system, intended to select what fire appliances are sent to emergencies, when it moved to its new control room earlier this month.

However the system has been sending the wrong appliances to fires and other emergencies, something which the local fire service have brushed off as ‘minor teething problems’.

One week on and the dangerous issues remain unaddressed.

Riccardo la Torre, chair of the FBU in Essex, said: “It’s scandalous that a week later we are still seeing situations where fire engines are not where they need to be due to failings in the new system – a system which service managers assured us was ready and fit for purpose.

“Major concerns for public safety have been raised by firefighters who have been delayed responding to incidents due to emergency 999 call responses being sent to the wrong fire station or not being sent at all as the system showed them as being unavailable.

“Earlier this week whilst attending a meeting at a local fire station I was horrified to see that they were still having to use pen and paper to record emergency calls.

“This is unacceptable. Essex fire service needs to stop brushing off these dangerous faults as ‘teething problems’ simply to save face and get to work on rectifying the issues for the safety of firefighters and the communities of Essex.

“The new control system is simply not fit for purpose.”

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