Thames Valley Fire Control Centre Approved

Multi-million pound plans to have a joint fire control centre for Oxfordshire and Berkshire have been approved.

The centre, which would be based at Berkshire's new headquarters in Calcot, Reading, would make a combined saving of £659,000 a year for the services.

Heart's been told a proportion of the savings would then be reinvested in technology to make sure the centre remains state-of-the-art.

Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet and the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority gave the project the green light at two separate meetings on July 17.

The £3.6 million pound call centre, which could open in the next two years, will be paid for with a grant from the government.

The two brigades made the decision to merge after the cancellation of the National Fire Control Project, which would have seen control rooms across the country merge into 9 centres. This was scrapped in 2010.

New technology means operators will be able to pinpoint exactly where a caller is as well as where all the fire vehicles are.

Berkshire's Chief Fire Officer Iain Cox said it'll mean a quicker service; "We'll be able to tell where our appliances are rather than just know the rough area. They'll have an automatic vehicle location system so they'll be able to get where the incident is through other technology and where the nearest appliances are and then marry the two together."

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