Fire and emergencies

Resilience

The national resilience programme is being delivered in partnership with the Fire and Rescue Service and comprises three interlinked projects - Firelink, New Dimension and FiReControl.

The programme aims to strengthen national and local resilience by improving the infrastructure, interoperability and capability of the Fire and Rescue Service.

Background

The programme enables the Fire and Rescue Services to respond more effectively to natural disasters (e.g. widespread flooding), large-scale accidents (e.g. the Buncefield oil terminal fire) and the threat of terrorism, as well as day-to-day incidents.

Firelink has delivered a single, digital wide-area radio system for the Fire and Rescue Service across Great Britain.

New Dimension has provided specialist equipment and training for Fire and Rescue Services to deal with major incidents. This includes high volume pumps for flooding, urban search and rescue units for building collapse and mass decontamination equipment.

FiReControl was a project to replace England's 46 standalone local control rooms with a resilient national network of nine control centres. The project closed down with effect from 20 December 2010 following agreement between the Department and the main IT contractor EADS that the requirements of the project could not be delivered to an acceptable timeframe. A consultation has taken place on future arrangements.

What we are doing

Both Firelink and New Dimension projects are in their final stages.

On Firelink: The next step is to realise the system's capability to be used for command level radio communications between the police, fire, ambulance and other rescue services.

On New Dimension: The capability has been delivered, appart from the enhanced command support vehicles. The focus is now on completing the transfer of ownership of New Dimension assets to those Fire and Rescue Services which host them.

On FiReControl: The Department is identifying how any legacy assets from other parts of the project - such as the control centre buildings - can be best used. A consultation has taken place on future arrangements for control services that could deliver improved resilience, increased efficiency and enhanced technology for the Fire and Rescue Services in England.  No solution will be imposed.

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