Essex fire service was plunged into chaos again today after a failing IT system sent fire engines from all parts of the county out to imaginary incidents.
The news comes just hours after fire chiefs were forced to fend off probing questions from councillors at todayâ€™s fire authority meeting over the endemic failures of the new â€˜state of the artâ€™ mobilising system.
A senior manager told councillors that he was confident that all the problems had now been eliminated.
This was followed by comments from the acting chief fire officer in Essex Adam Eckley who assured the fire authority that they were now on top of the situation.
Riccardo la Torre, chair of the FBU in Essex, said: â€œThe mobilising system has been suffering endemic failures for months now. The FBU has raised this again and again but Essex Fire and Rescue are just not listening.
â€œOne minute fire chiefs were reassuring fire authority members that things were fine, the next the whole system went haywire mobilising fire engines all across the county to fake incidents.â€
A fire engine in Basildon was responding to one of these â€˜imaginaryâ€™ incidents when it had to be re-directed to a real house fire in progress.
Keith Handscomb, of the FBU national executive council, said: â€œThis is another example of a close call where a fire engine is unavailable or delayed, on an imaginary call-out, when there is a real emergency that they should be responding too.
â€œThis so called â€˜state of the artâ€™ system is increasing the risk to the public and firefighters alike. Fire engines are also unnecessarily responding rapidly to fake emergencies through the streets on â€˜blue lightsâ€™.
â€œWhen is someone in Essex Fire and Rescue going to admit that the problems are real and when will they put it right?â€
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