back to article London Fire Brigade: This time we'll send the NEAREST fire truck

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has signed a £19.6m control room contract intended to deliver improvements including better call identification and data sharing with other emergency services. A replacement for the LFB's existing control centre IT contract with Motorola, which expires in 2014, was due to have been delivered through …

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Headmaster

* fire engine

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Headmaster

*appliance

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Joke

*iFireApp

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FAIL

Oh dear this just will not do.

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Anonymous Coward

Certainly not truck. We're not in Americaland...

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This post has been deleted by its author

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The nearest fire truck is probably somewhere in Maine and may take a while to arrive.

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Anonymous Coward

Or even more specifically: tender, pump ("heavy rescue" or "high volume"), ladder platform, unit etc

But never truck.

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Anonymous Coward

Timescale to failure?

I'll set the countdown timer for 3 years then shall I?

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appliance?

What kind of joyless automaton says "fire appliance" instead of "fire engine"?

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Re: appliance?

The kind that has outlawed the word 'fireman' and banned the sliding pole.

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Facepalm

Capita?

What could possibly go wrong?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Capita? What could possibly go wrong?

And why does 1666 come to mind?

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Coat

What could possibly go wrong?

"Using automatic vehicle location, we will know where the nearest appliance is, irrespective of which station the appliance belongs to" {and whether it's busy or not, and whether it has the right equipment}.

My nearest appliance is a dishwasher.

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Re: What could possibly go wrong?

I suppose that could put out a really tiny fire that you put inside it?

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WTF?

Perhaps they should look at taxi companies

They've been using systems that first available vehicle (and location) for *decades*.

And *no* automated data sharing despite being in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Looks like a serious failure of the organisation to realise it operates in a city *full* of other people and organisations.

Not a vacuum.

and of course they have got Capita. So much for "We'll let smaller companies in to such contracts"

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FAIL

Another great waste of time/money?

So.....?

The nice shiny new Fire Control Center they just built near me, With it's giant UPS, generator system and hardened against terrorist attacks. Is now completely worthless?

Nice job o.O

We had to do work there once, not 3 months after it opened because a cable had burst into flames in the wall..... The Fire Control Center set itself on FIRE! Great work o.O

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Re: Another great waste of time/money?

Sounds like the one in Somerset, except after great expense they never even moved into the premises, preferring to keep local knowledge as a priority in the multiple existing control centers, rather than using one to cover the entire greater South West (Devon and Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Avon, Gloucestershire and Cornwall Fire Brigades). Not even Devon & Somerset Fire Brigade are willing to move into the vacant premises as the upkeep costs would be far greater than their existing control center.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another great waste of time/money?

Useless, no, the 'funk-pit' functions were not to be available to the Fire staff from day one, these were to be for the great and the good to rule from as regional seats of gov't. Our local one has much security to keep the Fire staff out, and yet more to keep those who actually paid for it (we tax payers) out of it.

Its ~200m x 200m including car parks, has something like 175 CCTV camera's on the outside monitoring the fence lines etc, between the second and third fence is a 'sterile' area with motion and weight sensing detectors...

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Joke

Sorry Luv

We've got to leave your house burning as we've got another call out just down the road. Be back in a Jiffy once that one's out.

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Big Brother

Sometimes I wonder whether it's worth starting a political party with a manifesto solely dedicated to eradicating all capita contracts from civil and government agencies...

...might have a tough time going up against the people's front against bankers through

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Joke

Re: People's Front Against Bankers

Splitter!

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Its not like a taxi service.

Cant see this going down well with the firemen persons. On their way back to base after a big shout all groted up, knackered, engines (sorry appliances) all out of foam, water and breathing cylinders. Then get sent to another incident. Sounds like a recipe for a disaster.

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Re: Its not like a taxi service.

In that case the crew in charge of the appliance would report a status to the control room indicating that they're not available for fire mobilisations (but maybe could rescue a cat stuck up a tree).

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Re: Its not like a taxi service.

It would be nice that the appliance crew would be able to report the status and this be used to indicate a non fire availability. But its more likely the whole plan will be used as a a background ploy to reduce appliance and crew numbers. Because we send our nearest appliances we don't have to have so many in reserve. Its all bean counter thinking.

If they want to have a nearest unit response then they probably should be looking at the motorbike/car paramedic system. They respond, assess the situation and call in the cavalry if needed.

And I bet no body in the hierarchy has spoken to a single fireperson about this and got their views.

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Re: Its not like a taxi service.

I currently support a dynamic mobilsation system for another Fire Service, the system is a little more advanced than simply choosing the nearest appliance. Numerous factors including Fire Fighter skill-set, appliance capability etc are all used to determine the most suitable appliance to respond to an incident.

Overall the dynamic mobilisation systems works a hell of a lot better than set area boundary mobilisation ever did.

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Re: Its not like a taxi service.

In reply to Wupspups:

With our mobilisation system, a crew on an appliance do report their status back to control informing them of their availability, this is decided by the crew themselves.

We've not lost any pumps/staff since the new system came into force, we are actually struggling to make numbers up in our more rural areas which are covered by retained stations.

We also have a similar system to the motorbike/car paramedic, we have a number of members of staff in GPS tracked cars who respond to incidents and assess it before an appliance arrives.

The Fire Fighters job barely changed with transition to the mobilisation system other than they new also receive the job via an on board computer which gives directions/incident information whereas previously this was all done via radio contact.

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Happy

Re: Its not like a taxi service.

Lee_M

I was about to reply to Wupspups,but you have confirmed what I was sure would be the case.

Carry on with the Good Word you do for those of us in need.

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Stop

Hang on a second...

"...the government's £469m FireControl project..."

"...FireControl was to have reduced the number of fire service control rooms across the UK from 46 to nine..."

"...John Anthony, project director for control and mobilising services at the LFB, who was the London representative for FireControl, said that because of the failure of the project, the LFB has had to replace the existing system itself..."

Is this summary correct? A massive-budget project failed, not only to save £8m a year (proposal) but also to work at all.

If so, who was in charge, if not J. Anthony? How much money was spent? What happened to the person responsible for wasting half a (US) billion pounds?

If not, then what did happen?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hang on a second...

It would be nice to know what did happen, wouldn't it.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report (50 pages) was published last September and is at

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmpubacc/1397/1397.pdf

See also coverage elsewhere, e.g.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/01/auditor_says_firecontrol_a_disaster/

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"What happened to the person responsible for wasting half a (US) billion pounds?"

Probably next in line to run the Cabinet Office now Mr Watmore* (can a lordship be long delayed?) has left to spend more time with his (used to be our) money.

* See El Reg passim, ad nauseam.

If I may be permitted a pedantic quibble, the UK adopted the short (US) billion in the days of Harold Wilson. The proper billion, along with the milliard, is still in use sur le continong.

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Thumb Up

Re: Hang on a second...

Exactly.

And BTW for all their faults, appliance is not a bad name given the range of equipment that might need to be deployed.

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Anonymous Coward

Are they going to rebrand at the same time? why not Icarus as mentioned in the series Monkey Dust.

After all the fire service needs to "reach out to those people who's houses aren't on fire".

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From my experience...

... this will mean you call C(r)aptia to report a fire. They will reply a week later with a request for clarification of the type of fire as they simply cannot process the call until they have this additional, vital bit of information...

Personally, I'm investing in marshmallows as I can see them being popular during the impending Great Fire of London pt2...

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Anonymous Coward

WTF is a fire truck?

We don't need no Americanisms here.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: WTF is a fire truck?

Duly noted.

C.

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Anonymous Coward

Project Management

The basic idea of a project must always be proven with a POC. Once this has been done, you implement small part of the project and trial it. It seems that these two important steps of a project are skipped in government projects ... they start off immediately working along on huge projects in dozens of places costing millions of pounds.

Governments have never heard of start small, test, expand, test, expand, test [...], expand, test, final full scale test, deliver.

I see this project work out as a failure as well, there have been nothing but failures - or heavy overpricing- in recent years in all types of government contracts.

Example in Marseille, France ... city wanted a tunnel for a motorway under the city - they received multiple offers and are forced under flawed French law to select the cheapest. Result: Half way through the initialization part of the project, they revised the costs, half way through the project, they revised the costs again, multiplying by 10 this time - since half the tunnel had been dug out, the company was gonna go tits up without more funding (LOL) and the city needed the tunnel, city paid. Turned out some Corsican mafiosi were laughing all the way to the bank ...

Government projects have become extortion projects of public funds, no risks, good pay, all legal.

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Nearest fire engine != right fire engine

Hopefully they'll remember to factor little things like state into account - it might be nearest, but completely unusable due to having just used all of the supplies at another fire. Or the crew could be completely exhausted. Seems obvious, but it's the kind of thing that has a nasty habit of getting overlooked.

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