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Keeping Communities Safe

Minister Hogan publishes 2 major reports on Fire Services in Ireland “Keeping Communities Safe” and “CAMP – The Next Generation”

On 7th February, 2013, Minister Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, published two major reports on the future direction of the fire service in Ireland, which he has adopted as national policy, and announced that the implementation phase starts now.

Fire safety in our communities is paramount, and the policy documents launched today include good practice currently benefiting the public in terms of driving down the annual loss from fire. Minister Hogan acknowledged the improvements in fire safety in Ireland “The number of fire incidents is being driven down year on year. While every death from fire is a death too many, I note that the provisional toll for 2012, with 28 people killed in fires, is the lowest annual figure for fire deaths for four decades. I congratulate everyone involved in fire safety and fire services for the work and changes you have brought about to achieve this consistent reduction in Ireland’s fire death rate.”

Keeping Communities Safe
The “Keeping Communities Safe” (KCS) document is the blueprint for the future direction of the fire service which will deliver consistent, effective and value for money fire services in Ireland while continuing to reduce the risk from fires in our communities and prioritising the safety of fire personnel in their work. KCS has been developed using a risk management approach, where risks are identified, classified and used to prioritise fire service activity in prevention, protection and response. This approach is fully in keeping with best international practice.
For the first time in Ireland, national standards for fire service delivery are set out in KCS, against which current service provision can be benchmarked. KCS sets challenging targets for further improvement to be achieved by fire authorities. It also examines the roles appropriate for the fire service and the structures to deliver services.

KCS puts into practice the provisions of the recently published Local Government reform agenda “Putting People First” in applying the ‘shared services’ concept. This provides for a reduction in the number of fire service delivery units from 30 to 21. Minister Hogan said this reflected his preference to achieve necessary efficiencies, while maintaining the fire service within local government, rather than migrate towards a national fire service as had been suggested in some submissions.

CAMP – Next Generation
CAMP is the acronym for Computer Aided Mobilisation Project – the fire service’s 999/112 emergency call-taking service for the public. This is the system which supports the operators to take the 999 calls from the public, identify their location and mobilise the appropriate initial response. The current three communications centre maintain radio communications with the responding fire service and also have a coordinating role in major emergencies. The regional communication centres also gather, collate and makes available detailed information for fire authorities.

The current system is 20 years old and, for a number of technical and practical reasons, it was decided to plan for the next generation. The CAMP Report examined a range of options, and sets out the preferred option which involves moving from three separate region-based communication systems to a single national system with nodes at the current three CAMP centres. Fire services will migrate to the National Digital Radio Service provided by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and currently used by other emergency services.

Both policy documents are available on the Department’s website at

Posted: 07/02/2013

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