Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has joined with three other forces to boost their 999 call-handling service.
Herts has teamed with Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Humberside, and believe that response times will be even faster as a result.
Each service will still have its own 999 control centre, but staff in any one of them are now be able to handle calls from across all four areas, and mobilise local fire crews if necessary. This is designed to boost capacity and resilience during busy periods and major emergencies.
Darryl Keen, chief fire officer at Herts Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The vast majority of 999 calls to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue will continue to be answered by our control centre in Hertfordshire, but this partnership gives us a robust back-up so we can continue to answer calls and mobilise fire crews however busy we get and whatever nature throws at us.”
As well as linking four control rooms on to a single network, the programme has also harmonised ways of working so that members of the public and crews will be dealt with in the same way, whichever control room they end up connected to.
Herts chose Norfolk, Humberside and Lincolnshire to team up with as the distance between the areas means that it is highly unlikely all four would be affected by a serious incident, such as severe weather, at the same time.
Herts and Norfolk already have a buddy arrangement for answering calls about flooding during periods of intense rainfall.