Delivering quicker response times for London Fire Brigade

UK fire engine
Date Published


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5 mins read

Since London Fire Brigade started using Capita’s VISION mobilising system they’ve been reaching incidents more quickly

London Fire Brigade is the busiest brigade in the country and one of the largest firefighting and rescue organisations in the world. To support their aim of making London the safest global city, the Brigade introduced a new mobilising system in their control room.

A mobilising system which provides all the right information to control rooms

VISION supports the concept of dynamic mobilising, guiding control room operators to mobilise fire engines to emergencies according to their proximity to incidents and providing operators with a concise recommendation of the most appropriate resources to despatch to an incident.

The system uses a routing algorithm which analyses current resource utilisation and the nature of the incident, taking into account vehicle location (AVLS) and journey times. This is displayed via a visually appealing dashboard including mapping, histograms with arrival timings, and crucial information about the appliance status, the officer in charge and more, all provided via automation technology as soon as an address is entered.

Assistant Commissioner for Brigade Control and Mobilising, Jonathan Smith, said: “Being able to mobilise the closest resource, which takes into account intelligence such as individual road speeds, enables us to cover a particular incident – say, in the east of London – whilst ensuring that we’re still able to provide cover for the rest of London."

Cutting incident response times for both the first and the second appliance

London Fire Brigade can clearly evidence how much faster they’re reaching incidents since they introduced VISION: the Brigade’s ‘Fire Facts’ report states that the average attendance time for both the first and the second fire engine to get to an incident in 2018 is 19 seconds faster than in 2015. These statistics show the improvement in response times since the Brigade introduced Capita’s VISION system in 2015.

Intelligent communications

Because VISION can tell whether appliances are in a home station or out on the road, the solution also supports more efficient communications for deployment by calculating the best way to get the message to the crew, for example whether the alert goes off at the station or is displayed on the mobile data terminal of an appliance already on the road.

Control room operators can now locate callers via their mobile: “No-one can predict when they might witness an incident and people calling in will often not know where they are, particularly if they’re in a rural location, or perhaps if injury or the stress of the incident has made it hard for them to think clearly.

“Our mobilising system gives us the ability to integrate effectively with other new technologies - even if the caller has only the vaguest understanding of where they are, we can locate them instantly. We’re working with Capita to add in the very latest technology to support decision-making and to enhance public safety.” explains Jonathan.

Using technology to help protect lives

Jonathan summarises the impact of VISION: “What’s key for us is that we’ve moved away from a station-bound control room system to a much more dynamic set-up. With our fantastic, dedicated staff, we can mobilise the closest and most appropriate resources to reach incidents in the shortest possible time – shaving 19 seconds off both the first and second appliance arrival times is a significant improvement.

“We’re covering an area of huge scale across London in terms of geography and population - the Brigade’s control centre took over 179,000 calls last year alone - and it’s crucial for our service to be able to reach every incident as
quickly as possible so that we can mitigate and resolve each situation effectively.”

George Greig, Chief Delivery Officer at Capita Secure Solutions and Services, adds: “We’re proud that the innovative technology featured in our VISION software is helping the London Fire Brigade to protect lives. Crucial seconds – and, in some cases, minutes - are gained by ensuring control room operators have clear, up to date information, such as travel times and the nearest available appliances. They can then mobilise the most effective resources and minimise deployment times, ensuring crews and pumps are on the ground as soon as possible.”

“It provides our control officers with the information they need to make informed mobilisation decisions, enabling us to move our resources around more quickly and efficiently.”

Jonathan Smith, Assistant Commissioner for Brigade Control and Mobilising, 

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