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Fire control room decision

A DECISION on whether to close the Inverness fire control room or not will be made by the Scottish Fire and rescue Service (SFRS) later this week.

In a paper before the organisation’s board meeting on Thursday, chief officer Alastair Hay proposes to keep the control rooms in Dundee and Edinburgh, but to close those in Inverness and Aberdeen.

The board had previously decided to retain the Johnstone control room; the largest in Scotland handling around 50 per cent of all fire calls in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell has added his voice to a campaign aimed at retaining the Inverness based facility.

In a letter to SFRS chairman Pat Watters, Bell writes that closing the control room would remove valuable local knowledge from the area.

“The staff working in the Inverness control room have a huge wealth of experience and knowledge, built up over a number of years.

“These staff are essential to the communities that they serve, and their loyalty to the service is remarkable and is to be commended.

“They have a vast knowledge and understanding of the Highlands & Islands area – not only of its geography and rurality, but of the different dialects and the diversity of its communities,” he said in his letter.

The decision to reduce the number of control rooms across the country was taken just months after the merger of the eight regional fire services, in April of last year.

Chief officer Hay said: “We have a great opportunity as a result of fire reform in Scotland to create three fire controls with a much better service with the highest levels of technology and interoperability achieved through the procurement of a single mobilising platform for the three controls.”

The fire control option appraisal report can be found at: http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/media/542354/fire_control_option_appraisal_for_final_locations.pdf 

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