Fire-control centres delayed due to IT problems

The deployment of a new £380m emergency fire-control network for England has been delayed because of a number of IT difficulties

The deployment of a new emergency fire-control network for England has been delayed due to IT problems.

The £380m FireControl project to build nine networked high-tech fire brigade control centres, whose IT system is already two years behind schedule, has slipped by five months.

Communities and local government minister Sadiq Khan blamed the delays on fixing "a number of difficulties with the ICT".

The regional hubs will replace the 46 existing fire-control centres in England, providing wider access to live information during emergencies and better co-ordination of available manpower and equipment.

The full system will now be in place by spring 2012, with the first three regional control centres in the north-east, East Midlands and south-west going live in summer 2010 — nine months later than expected.

Khan indicated that the date for the full system going live could slip further, saying that meeting final deadlines is dependent on completion of the earlier stages of the scheme.

He said progress has been made on the project, including the completion of eight regional control centre buildings.

Khan praised the scheme in a written statement to parliament yesterday, saying: "It will result in greater resilience and collaboration, better information and incident support for firefighters, and a better service to the public — both day to day and during major incidents."