Tuesday, September 18, 2018
You are here: Isle of Man > Isle of Man News
Isle of Man News
General News
Island’s emergency communications lead the way 17 August 2007

Home Affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK has spoken out to reassure Isle of Man residents that local emergency communications meet, and in some areas exceed, recommended standards.

Commenting following publication yesterday of a follow-up report by the 7 July Review Committee of the London Assembly, Mr Quayle said the Isle of Man should be proud of its terrestrial trunked radio network (TETRA) and the level of co-ordination provided by the Emergency Services Joint Control Room (ESJCR).

In its original report following the London bombings on 7 July 2005, published in June 2006, the Review Committee made 54 recommendations, of which 15 related to communications.

Said Mr Quayle: ‘Thanks to TETRA and the ESJCR the Isle of Man is leading the way in terms of co-ordinating communications across all emergency services. Since the Island’s system became operational in April 2004, we are able to meet all the report’s recommendations relating to communications. The 7 July Review Committee’s follow-up report acknowledges progress made in certain aspects but there are still areas of concern over communications between emergency services across the capital.’

The Committee makes further recommendations in its report, including asking that the emergency services provide evidence to them by 31 October 2007 ‘that there has been full consideration of the potential for improving communications between the emergency services during the first minutes following declaration by one service of a major incident, whether by reviewing the protocols for declaring a major incident or by improving the speed and efficiency with which the emergency services inform each other of major incidents’.

Mr Quayle added: ‘The Island’s level of co-ordination and preparedness to handle emergencies has been one of the biggest successes of joined up government – a true cross departmental initiative encompassing everything from departments to statutory boards. As far as we can establish, the Island’s speed in responding to emergency calls is unmatched and our ground-breaking system is the envy of many other jurisdictions.’

Part of the rationale behind the TETRA and ESJCR project, run by the Communications Division of the Department of Home Affairs, was the need to have integrated communications for the emergency services and its operation has resulted in fact-finding visits by representatives of many other jurisdictions including the UK, South Africa, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Malta and Eire. At the end of August a visit is being hosted for representatives of the Pakistan Ministry of Interior.

Additionally, the ESJCR received the accolade of best practice in a special report entitled ‘Beyond the Call’ which was distributed to police forces across the UK by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary earlier this year.

The ESJCR was the first operation of its kind in the world, taking all 999 emergency calls and radio messages for fire, ambulance and police as well as dispatching the necessary resources. Since it went live in April 2004, it has maintained a consistently high performance level with all 999 calls being answered in less than two seconds. To date the ESJCR has handled over 111,000 emergency events and dealt with over 50,000 emergency 999 calls. A total of 21 IoM Government organisations use the TETRA network, and the system will once again be in use during the forthcoming Manx Grand Prix. To date the TETRA system has handled a total of 3.6million calls.

Robert Williamson, Technical Director of the DHA’s Communications Division, said: ‘We are constantly reviewing and upgrading the technology which supports TETRA and the ESJCR operation. The Island is very fortunate that the Isle of Man Government supported its establishment and operation.’

More information about the Communications Division can be found at: www.gov.im/dha/cd

The London Assembly reports can be read online at: www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/general.jsp

More stories >>>  

Other Guides by Maxima Systems Ltd: Disney World