EMERGENCY fire calls made in Cumbria could be answered in Cheshire under plans to be considered by county councillors next week. Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet will consider a report which recommends transferring 999 call handling and fire engine mobilisation to a centre in Warrington. The Cabinet is asked to agree to Cumbria becoming a full partner in a north west collaboration to provide a control room which would be run by a local authority controlled company called NW Fire Control Ltd. Currently 999 calls are handled by the control room in Cockermouth. The aim is to improve the service and cut costs but the Fire Brigades Union has concerns about loss of local knowledge. Once the Cabinet’s decision is made there will be a wait until next month to allow the fire authorities of Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire to make their decisions. Should other authorities fail to agree, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet will review its decision. Coun Gary Strong, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We believe collaboration across the north west would improve resilience and functionality, make the most of funding available by Government and help achieve significant savings for all fire and rescue services.

"This kind of opportunity is something that every level of the public sector, including fire authorities, must consider.

“We have a good track record of working together and I feel the move has the potential to maintain and improve the delivery of our control service.”