French firm supplies new Yorkshire fire control systems

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Plans for a new joint control system enabling two Yorkshire fire services to handle each other's emergency calls has taken a step forward.

West and South Yorkshire fire services were given a £3.6m government grant to develop the system earlier this year.

French operator Systel has been appointed as the supplier for the system, which will be in place in 2014.

Both authorities will continue to use separate control rooms but phone calls could be re-routed at peak times.

Systel already provides emergency mobilising systems to 43 fire services around the world.

Financial constraint

West Yorkshire Fire Service said the new system would save both authorities about £400,000 a year.

As part of other cost-cutting measures, control centre staff at West Yorkshire's current Birkenshaw headquarters will be moved to the service's current Safety Central building in Leeds.

Deputy chief fire officers Steve Beckley, from West Yorkshire, and Mark Shaw, from South Yorkshire, said: "By working together we are not only delivering significant efficiencies at a time of severe financial constraint but also adding resilience for times of peak activity.

"The new system will operate two control rooms in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire where control staff will be able to answer each other's calls and despatch each other's fire appliances should the need arise."

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