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People Will Die if Government Call Centre Chaos is Brought to the Fire Service Warns Fire Brigades Union

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Plans to close all emergency fire controls in England should be dropped after figures showing Government help-lines can’t even answer phone calls properly. The Fire Brigades Union warned people would die if that happened in the Government’s planned regional fire controls.

Figures released today show that since 2003 Government help lines could not answer 36.6% of all calls made to them. Yet the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister boasts it can do better than the 99.99% success rate of the 46 local fire controls it wants to close down.

FBU President Ruth Winters said: “Government should stop boasting about how they will do our complex job better. These figures show they can’t even answer the phone properly.

“We are the command and control centres of local fire brigades, a hundred times more complex than these call centres. We answer calls and send fire crews within seconds while this lot can’t even pick up the telephone.

“If they press ahead with their plans it will be emergency 999 calls not being answered and people will die. The public will be held in a queue listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while the room fills with smoke.

“Central Government must accept the fact they do these things badly. Quite simply, they are not in the same league as the fire service and they must accept that.”

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