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999 IT failures are endangering lives, warns FBU

COMPUTER issues in North West and East Coast fire control rooms are creating dangerous delays in emergency response, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warned today.

The union has issued five Safety Critical Notices to the English fire controls demanding that IT problems are urgently addressed, as control rooms handle an influx of storm-related calls.

The union said that an instance of IT failure can cause a delay of up to eight minutes, seriously impacting the ability of understaffed control rooms to mobilise firefighters, fire engines and other resources to emergencies.

FBU control-staff national committee secretary Lynda Rowan-O’Neil said: “We’ve repeatedly warned that these IT failings are dangerous, but have been ignored.

“Our control rooms are desperately understaffed and conditions have become completely untenable.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It’s an utter disgrace that emergency fire-control bosses have ignored the concerns of their own staff for so long.

“The FBU is fully behind our members taking on these safety-critical issues and will be applying pressure nationally and regionally.”

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