Unsung heroes behind 999 calls celebrated

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The unsung heroes behind 999 calls are being recognised as fire and rescue services in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk this week celebrate the fifth anniversary of their combined fire control.

The two neighbouring county fire services joined forces in October 2011 to merge their control rooms in the first collaboration of its kind in the country, saving £800,000.

Since then, the 41 staff in the control room have dealt with 113,823 emergency 999 calls and mobilised 65,099 fire engines and other emergency appliances.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, Mark Sanderson said: “It has been a very successful collaboration and that is largely down to the highly professional team we have working in the control room at Huntingdon.

“Our control operators are often the forgotten part of our response to an incident. Everyone sees our firefighters turning up and dealing with the situation, but very few appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes to glean information from callers who are often highly distressed.

“The professional approach taken by our operators ensures the right level of resource can be sent to the right location in the quickest time and firefighters can be provided with as much information as possible to understand what they will be facing when they arrive.

“As we celebrate five years of working together, it is an opportune moment for us to thank our control staff for the vital role they play in helping us to keep our communities safe.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Rick Hylton added: “The future for fire and rescue services is about collaboration, working with our neighbouring services and other emergency service partners to make our services to the public more efficient. Five years on this has been a great example of what can be achieved and our success has helped other fire and rescue services follow suit.”

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, Cllr Matthew Hicks said: “On behalf of Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service I want to pay tribute to our fire control operators who carry out a very important and critical role, dealing with 999 calls and supporting our firefighters at emergencies.

“They work around the clock; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year to deliver a highly professional service to the public and our firefighters, across both counties, and they do so with great skill and commitment.”