Emergency Services across Bedfordshire celebrate control rooms as part of international awareness week Image Bedfordshire Police

This week, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue and The East of England Ambulance service thank their control rooms after dealing with an increase in demand following the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of International Control Room Week, partners are celebrating the life-saving work of control room employees. And also acknowledging their resilience during one of the most challenging years to date.

Control room teams have continued to work throughout the crisis to protect the public, dealing with an increase in calls in addition to the serious and distressing incidents that happen on a daily basis.

Chief Inspector Jim Goldsmith from Bedfordshire Police’s force contact centre said:

“I’m so unbelievably proud of the way our staff have carried themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

“They have worked tirelessly to answer calls, respond to web chats and pick up online reports in order to help our communities during this difficult and everchanging time.

“Our call handlers are often the very first point of contact for the public at their biggest time of need and in a lot of cases are quite simply our communities’ lifeline. The compassion and dedication they show on a daily basis is humbling

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our officers and staff who have missed family dinners, left for work in the middle of the night and sacrificed kissing their loved one’s goodnight to make sure we are there for our community.

“I’d also like to turn my thanks to the community and those of you who are keeping our phone lines free for emergencies by using our online reporting tool and 101 web chat to report incidents such as Covid-19 breaches, anti-social behaviour and fraud.

“We have seen an increase in online reporting during the pandemic and we hope to see it continue as it has a really positive impact on our effectiveness.”

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s, Station Commander Control, Dave Smith said:

“I want to pay tribute to the unsung heroes from our Fire Control team who have worked untiringly throughout this challenging year.

“They are the calm, level headed voices on the end of the phone when you are going through the worst experience, making sure you stay safe whilst sending the right resources to the right place as quickly as possible.

“Not only have the team maintained and delivered a fantastic Fire Control service to the public of Bedfordshire but have continued to develop and progress in support of the whole Service.

“The Fire Control team have supported the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum with decision loggists for regular command meetings since the start of the pandemic and continue to do so in addition to taking on additional roles to ensure services were still continued.

“As well as this, they have adopted and embraced several new ways of working to help us reach people in need including GoodSAM live video streaming during 999 calls and Emergency Locate technology – allowing us to take What 3 Words locations and convert them to addressable locations.

“Thanks must also go to the public who have supported and engaged with us and our launch of our dedicated Fire Control Twitter account @Beds_FireCtrl – allowing our passionate team to engage and share live updates and important safety messages linked to current incidents.”

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said:

“This year has seen unprecedented times and our control room staff have gone above and beyond to ensure that patient care has not been affected.

“From our call handling teams, to our dispatch teams, to our control room clinicians, every member of staff has had to adapt the way they work to facilitate the changes that the pandemic has presented.

“The Trust is incredibly proud of everything they have achieved and continue to do on a day to day basis.”

The week is organised by APD Communications and aims to celebrates the unsung heroes of the emergency services in the control room.

The Police, Fire and Ambulance services will be sharing stories of Control Room colleagues throughout the week across its social media channels.

For every mention of the hashtag #UnsungHeroes, £1 will be donated to mental health charity Mind and the Scottish Association for Mental Health by APD Communications to support both the people working within the Control Room and also members of the public contacting emergency services.

Follow Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue and The East of England Ambulance social channels this week, as they go behind the scenes in their control room and showcase the fantastic work they are doing.

If you need to report a crime please visit the force’s online reporting tool or if you’d like to speak to someone in the control room you can use the 101 web chat tool by clicking the green button on the website.

Always call 999 in an emergency.