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The Fire and Rescue National Framework (Wales) 2005 (Revisions) Order 2007

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18.  Delete paragraphs 5.26 to 5.29 and replace with —

Firelink

5.26  As announced in Wales Fire and Rescue Service Circular W-FRSC(06)09, the Assembly Government has joined with the UK Government to procure a state of the art digital radio communication system named Firelink for Fire and Rescue Authorities in Wales, Scotland and England. This new system will provide Fire and Rescue Authorities with the same technology as the Police and eventually the Ambulance Service in Wales and creates true interoperability and resilience for the first time.

5.27  The contract for the new communications system has been let to O2 Airwave Limited. The Assembly Government is investing approximately £44 million over the next 10 years in Firelink and has worked closely with the UK Government to ensure that this investment offers best value for money. The system is being funded by the Assembly Government until operational, and Fire and Rescue Authorities will then contribute to the revenue costs of the new system for the full term of the contract. The contract also provides for the maintenance of the existing radio communication systems until the new Firelink system is fully operational.

5.28  The programme of works provides that the system should be operational in Wales and be fully interoperable across all of the UK emergency services by mid 2009. Firelink will give Fire and Rescue Authorities the capability to respond effectively to large-scale incidents throughout the UK and equip them to meet differing emergencies and the demands of today’s challenging environment.

Training

5.29  Training for Firefighters in Wales on all elements of the New Dimension capability is being co-ordinated and carried out in collaboration with the Wales New Dimension regional Planner Team and Chief Fire Officers. The special training includes Mass Decontamination; Detection and Identification of Materials; High Volume Pumps; Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Command and Control. The training is being directly funded by the Assembly Government until the completion of the roll-out of the New Dimension Programme when long term funding arrangements will be put in place. The crewing costs of the USAR capability are also being funded by the Assembly Government, including new accommodation for the New Dimension vehicles and equipment, together with a new USAR Training Rig and accommodation.

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