OPERATORS answering 999 calls to Cambridgeshire fire service are to be given lessons in the terminology needed to fight fires at sea.

Despite the county being land locked the new skills will be needed from August 1 when Cambridgeshire merges its fire control room with Suffolk.

"Suffolk consists of areas of coastline and their crews are trained in off short fire fighting," says Graham Stagg, Cambs fire chief.

"This will require Cambridgeshire FRS control operators to learn new mobilising standards and radio procedures and terminology."

But he said this was "not seen to represent an increase in risk" since it would have been necessary if a much broader amalgamation had occurred with the now abandoned regional control centres.

Cambridgeshire Fire Authority is expected to approve final details of the Suffolk-Cambs merger tomorrow (Thursday). Suffolk has to move this year following the sale of its site in Colchester Road, Ipswich, and the cancellation of the regional control centre project planned for Waterbeach.

Mr Stagg said both Cambs and Suffolk control operators would need to develop some new ways of working but he anticipated staff selection and redundancy "to be completed in a timely fashion".