Scottish fire service control rooms to close this year

Staff from the city will join their colleagues in Dundee from November 8.

Fire service: Dundee will soon handle all emergencies in the north of Scotland (file pic). PA

Fire service: Dundee will soon handle all emergencies in the north of Scotland (file pic). PA

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s call centres in Aberdeen and Inverness will both shut later this year, it has been revealed.

All emergency calls made in the north of Scotland will be handled in Dundee from December 6, when the last staff will leave the Inverness control room.

The service’s Aberdeen call centre is expected to close on November 8.

After revealing the decision to staff on Tuesday, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service chief officer Alasdair Hay said: “We look forward to combining our capabilities from across Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness into this fantastic facility in Dundee.

“It can deploy our specialist resources not only from across the north – but from across the whole of Scotland – at times of significant emergency.

“I wanted to personally update the operations control staff in Aberdeen. I thanked them and made it clear that their hard work and professionalism is critical to the success of this project.”

The closures are part of a cost-saving drive to reduce the number of call centres from eight to three.

The service’s Dumfries control room shut in late 2014, followed by Thornton in Fife and Maddiston in Falkirk earlier this year.

Call centres in Edinburgh, Dundee and Renfrewshire will remain open.

The fire service previously estimated that switching to a single call-handling system across all three remaining control rooms would save £2.3m and cost 60 jobs.

Dundee’s operations centre is being upgraded and on September 28 staff will move out of the Macalpine Road facility and into portable buildings in its grounds.

They are expected to remain there until the revamp is complete in March 2017.

The Fire Brigades Union Scotland (FBUS) previously raised concerns about a loss of local knowledge and increased pressure on staff as a result of centralisation.

FBUS said closing control rooms could “result in less staff dealing with more calls over larger areas”, make mistakes more likely and increase response times.

The fire service says staff will be tested on their regional knowledge and understanding of local geography.