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Fire Service call-takers on the move from Stone to Birmingham

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

FIRE CHIEF . . . Peter Dartford

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EMERGENCY call takers will move from Staffordshire Fire Service’s headquarters near Stone to Birmingham in April.

Sharing a control centre with West Midlands Fire Service will save £500,000 a year for the county’s fire service, Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford told the Newsletter. Around eight staff will be making the move to Birmingham in the coming weeks.

But other departments, such as human resources, payroll and training, will remain at Pirehill, he said, and although control staff numbers have been reduced from 30 there have been no compulsory redundancies.

“For the people who didn’t want to go to the shared facility we found alternative roles within the organisation and some have taken voluntary redundancy,” he said. “People in Staffordshire will not notice any difference whatsoever when they dial 999.

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“We are utilising the very latest technology that allows us to use our resources far more effectively.

“For example, the new system identifies exactly where the call is coming from, whether from a landline or a mobile phone, and it can identify where the nearest fire engine is. Through automatic vehicle location technology they will know exactly where the engine is.”

Staffordshire Fire Service is also looking at boosting efficiency and cutting costs through a new vehicle type, currently being trialled in North Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire Efficient Response Operation (SERO) is a smaller response vehicle that can operated by a crew of just three firefighters, in comparison to the five or six required to operate the more traditional vehicles.

Mr Dartford said: “The new technology allows us to use fewer people, which helps us with the challenge of cutting costs.

“One of the most exciting things with this new technology is it provides higher levels of safety for our fire crews.”

SERO is equipped with battery-powered cutting equipment and a hose, which uses less water than a more traditional version as the liquid is pumped out through a misting nozzle.

The trial is due to finish at the end of March and SERO could be used to tackle a large amount of calls in the future, although some traditional engines would be retained for tasks such as larger fires.

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