Skip to content

Contract Award For The New Firelink Digital Radio System For The Fire And Rescue Services

Related Links

Tell us if you want any of the documents on this page in an alternative format.
Edwina Hart, Minister For Social Justice And Regeneration
I wish to announce that the Welsh Assembly Government has joined the UK Government to procure a state-of-the-art digital radio communication system (Firelink) for the Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and England this new scheme puts the Fire Service on the same platform as the Police in Wales and creates interoperability for the first time.

Announcements have been made today in Parliament that a contract has been let for the new communications system to O² Airwave Limited.

The Welsh Assembly Government is investing £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 Fire Authorities and Chief Fire Officers in Wales have been fully involved in the development of Firelink and hence Firelink meets the operational requirements of the Fire and Rescue Service and will be delivered to them by early 2009.

Recent incidents including the fire at Buncefield Oil Terminal in December 2005 have highlighted the need for a resilient radio system that is inter-operable across all UK Fire and Rescue Services and in particular, with systems used by the police and ambulance services.  Firelink will fulfil this need and give the Services the capability to respond effectively to large-scale incidents throughout the UK.

Firelink will enable all Fire & Rescue Services to reduce emergency response times for Fire and Rescue vehicles through global positioning technology to send the nearest rescue vehicle to an incident. An improved mobile data transmission system will be able to send technical information directly to the responding appliance, on the move.  This will equip the Service to meet differing emergencies and the demands of today's challenging environment.