West Sussex emergency fire service calls now being handled by Surrey

West Sussex Fire and Rescue. Pic Steve Robards SR1817300 SUS-180108-084305001
West Sussex Fire and Rescue. Pic Steve Robards SR1817300 SUS-180108-084305001

Emergency 999 calls to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are now being handled in Surrey.

Previously the county ran a joint control centre with East Sussex based over in Haywards Heath.

But West Sussex County Council decided to pull out of this arrangement and has instead moved to a joint system with Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

The new 999 combined control room, which went live last Thursday (December 5), only means a change of location for emergency calls and it will not affect the level of service provided to anyone calling 999.

According to the county council, the change brings a number of benefits for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service including greater functionality for staff and better value for money to both services.

In a first for any fire service, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is the first to fully migrate over to a cloud-based resource management system which integrates with the mobilising software to provide a resilient and seamless resource availability solution to control room staff.

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, West Sussex’s chief fire officer, said: “The new 999 combined control room provides an efficient and effective emergency call handling service for West Sussex and this was at the forefront of our decision making.

“Bringing the two control rooms together will not affect the way 999 calls are handled, or the level of service people will receive when needing West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service in an emergency.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to praise all the control room staff and everyone who has worked closely with the project team to deliver this joint control room. We look forward to working with our new colleagues from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.”

Steve Owen-Hughes, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer, added: “We are delighted to be taking 999 calls for West Sussex as well as Surrey from today. Our mobilising control system is state of the art, tried and tested and has the capacity to take a high volume of emergency calls.

“We welcome new opportunities to put the Policing and Crime Act 2017 into practice by collaborating with others for the benefit of all our residents. This arrangement will increase our resilience, staffing numbers and is also likely to result in efficiency savings for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

“Other successful collaborations include a joint occupational health service and joint training courses. We look forward to working with our colleagues in West Sussex.”