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Government must step in to urgently review fire control centre decision

August 27, 2014 11:30 AM

Tim Farron MP and fire-fighters at 10 Downing StreetCumbrian MP Tim Farron is writing to the Secretary of State Eric Pickles asking him to run an urgent, independent review of the regional fire control system for the North West.

Tim's call comes as an investigation is launched into why the controversial 999 call centre ordered firemen from Cumbria to attend an emergency near Bolton. A stunned fire crew at Carlisle East fire station received a printout message telling them about a man trapped near Rivington Reservoir in Lancashire - a 200-mile round trip away.

The mistake was made by the North West Fire Control Centre in Warrington, which now handles emergency calls across the region and replaces a system of local switchboards.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has claimed lives are being put at risk because of "failings" at the new North West Fire Control Centre. Tim met senior FBU officials in Kendal on Saturday to discuss the issue.

The union said it was "inundated" with daily complaints about the computer system crashing and contact being lost with mobile fire crews. The centre opened in May and answers 999 calls for Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria.

Tim said: "This project has been called a 'white elephant' and it really is. How can we expect someone in Warrington to know the difference between Staveley-in-Westmorland and Staveley-in-Cartmel when someone calls in distress? I hope that Eric Pickles will urgently look at this new evidence and agree to a review of the situation."