Public safety will not be compromised when staff at Fife’s fire control room make the move across the Forth, it has been claimed.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) board agreed back in September 2013 to reduce the number of fire controls north of the border from eight to just three, with the local base at Thornton among those earmarked for closure.
The Courier understands the switch from Thornton to the newly refurbished control centre in Edinburgh will take place within a matter of months, and staff have been told it is to happen at some point in the first quarter of 2016.
The centralisation of police call handling led to some fears about a lack of local knowledge in dealing with calls, and the same could be said in relation to the fire service.
However, local senior officer Ross Haggert has assured members of the public that they should notice no change in the service provided.
“When members of the public call in an incident, they will still be dealt with in the same professional manner as they always have,” he said.
More than a dozen call operators are expected to make the transition in the coming months, although it is not yet known what will happen to the building they leave behind in Thornton.
The state-of-the-art new control centre in Edinburgh, which will manage control room operations in the East of Scotland, was officially opened by Minister for Community Safety and Public Affairs Paul Wheelhouse earlier this month, and will manage control room operations in the east of Scotland.
The Maddiston and Edinburgh controls are due to formally merge on January 26, ahead of Thornton’s merger some time in the weeks that follow.
SFRS chief officer Alasdair Hay said the three control model for Scotland will improve safety and resilience by “ensuring full interoperability” between each control.
“As well as equipping our professional and highly trained control staff with the latest modern technology, it will also give them wider exposure to the full range of incidents the service is likely to attend and so will improve our operational response,” he said.