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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Cumbria fire crew ordered to emergency near Bolton

AN MP is demanding the government step in to urgently review fire control systems for Cumbria and the North West.

Tim Farron’s call comes after a probe was concluded into why the 999 call centre ordered firemen from Cumbria to attend an emergency near Bolton.

The mistake was made by the North West Fire Control Centre in Warrington, which now handles emergency calls across the country and replaces a system of local switchboards.

There have been cases where Ulverston’s engine was sent to a Walney incident, passing Barrow’s pump which was parked on station and available.

Barrow firefighter Ben Jones said this type of delay could have serious repercussions if it had been a genuine emergency.

The Fire Brigades Union has claimed lives are being put at risk because of “failings” at the centre, which opened in May.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Mr Farron said: “This project has been called a ‘white elephant’ and it really is. How can we expect someone in Warrington to know the difference between Staveley-in-Westmorland and Staveley-in-Cartmel when someone calls in distress? I hope the secretary of state, Eric Pickles, will urgently look at this new evidence and agree to a review of the situation.”

Mr Jones, a union representative, added: “The FBU highlighted the concerns with the technology before the closure of the Cumbria control room in 2012. Unfortunately, we have been proven correct and the technology is not up to the standard we had before.

“We agree with Tim Farron that a review into the NWFC issue must be undertaken to ascertain exactly what is wrong with this system and why it was commissioned without these errors being addressed.”

A NWFC spokesman said: “The new NWFC service has been successfully taking calls and mobilising fire engines and officers across Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester for over three months.

“Operators have shown great professionalism and dedication in dealing with more than 15,000 calls, including some major emergencies. In addition, they have had to work alongside officers in mobilising reduced numbers of fire engines to emergencies during the ongoing series of national strikes by the FBU. We have investigated the alleged incident in Carlisle and can confirm no fire engine was sent from Carlisle East to attend an incident at the Rivington Reservoir in Lancashire. The incident in question was a water rescue that was successfully dealt with by Lancashire crews who were mobilised straight away.

“The confusion seems to surround a printout message sent in error to Carlisle East (one of two Carlisle fire stations), however, this was immediately recognised as a mistake and no resource was ever mobilised.”

Have your say

I agree with you Alan. What provision is made for a running call?? Where do I go??. The FBU`S issue has nothing to do with the current control situation, and is (as we know it is political) I hope that when the brown stuff hits the whirly thing they will hold their hands up, (some hope)

Posted by Dabber Walney on 29 August 2014 at 14:51

What does the Industrial Dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and the Government have to do with this issue. A truely pathetic attempt to divert the story away from the real issue of a Regional Control that is not fit for purpose, that Cumbrians rejected, fails to replace local knowledge, and is putting lives at risk. It's a shame other elected and appointed Leaders lack the courage of Tim Farron and consistently fail to represent the Cumbrian tax payer who deserve better.

Posted by Allan on 29 August 2014 at 12:14

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