Leap into 21st century

A NEW £350million digital radio system to improve communication between firefighters and other emergency services has been on display in Huntingdon. As part of a whistle-stop tour of the country s fire stations, a vehicle fitted with Firelink equipment p

A NEW £350million digital radio system to improve communication between firefighters and other emergency services has been on display in Huntingdon.

As part of a whistle-stop tour of the country's fire stations, a vehicle fitted with Firelink equipment paid a visit to Huntingdon Fire Station last week.

The Firelink project will see the replacement of each fire and rescue service's current main scheme radio technology with, for the first time, a single wide area communications capability in England, Scotland and Wales.

John Barlow, who works for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and is responsible for rolling out the Firelink project across the East of England, said the new technology was a breath of fresh air for the fire service. He said: "The existing radio system for the fire service was first developed in the 1970s and is now ageing and becoming unreliable. This new communication system shows a huge leap forward for the emergency services, bringing them into the 21st century. It provides a less convoluted system and will speed things up and make the process of contacting other emergency services simpler."


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Funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, the project aims to improve radio communications between fire, police and ambulance services.

The new equipment, developed in response to the terrorist attacks in America and London, will also be fitted with global positioning.

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It is hoped next year there will be eight test vehicles fitted with the new system, including one stationed at St Neots Fire Station.

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