Approval for £2m upgrade to 'outdated' Northumberland Fire and Rescue control system

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Northumberland’s fire service has received a £2m investment for an upgraded fire control system.

The cash, approved by Northumberland County Council’s cabinet, will be used to pay for the new system, shared between Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS).

It will provide an “interconnected fire control” call handling and mobilising system.

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It means that NFRS and TWFRS will be able to handle calls and mobilise resources on behalf of the other as part of pre-existing resilience agreements. It is anticipated that the new system will be operational by the end of November 2025.

Chief fire officer Graeme Binning with Cllr Gordon Stewart, chair of the Fire Authority. (Photo by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service)Chief fire officer Graeme Binning with Cllr Gordon Stewart, chair of the Fire Authority. (Photo by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service)
Chief fire officer Graeme Binning with Cllr Gordon Stewart, chair of the Fire Authority. (Photo by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service)

Cllr Gordon Stewart, the chairman of the county’s fire authority, said: “I think it’s well evidenced that we have got a fantastic fire and rescue service in Northumberland.

“There’s no need or desire for it to become part of another authority like the PCC or the combined authority. It works exceptionally well.

“We have a highly trained, well-equipped team from the call handlers to the teams on the ground. This system here is expensive, but it has got to be replaced.

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“The other system is outdated. We have a modern county here with very diverse areas.

“Lots of money has been invested in the south east of the county, so we are tackling new challenges there. We have a very historical county with tourism one of the main industries, and nature is having an impact due to wildfires.

“We’ve got more cars and more housing. We’ve got to look at the systems to replace. If we do not have this system in place, everything else falls down.”