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Timely response

Monday, 29th August, 2011

A local firefighter said all emergency calls will continue being responded to in a speedy manner even if they are diverted to Sydney.

Central Fire Station Officer Phillip Eberle was responding to claims that lives would be at risk if the Katoomba communications centre - where local emergency fire calls are taken - was to close.

Fire and Rescue NSW said no decision had been made about the closure of the Katoomba and Woolongong centres.

Station Officer Eberle said he could not comment on policies but that local firefighters will continue to respond to emergencies quickly.

“The Katoomba communications centre do a good job and we are getting to all calls in a timely manner,” he said.

“No matter what happens we will always continue to get to all jobs in a timely manner.”

Fire Brigade Union Country Organiser, Greg Mitchell, said calls from western NSW will be placed in a queue with calls from Sydney if Katoomba and Woolongong closed.

“They are going to close them down in early 2012,” Mr Mitchell said

“It’s going to delay response times and put community safety at risk.”

A spokesman for Fire and Rescue NSW said the operating requirements for its emergency call-taking, dispatch and communication centres in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Katoomba were being reviewed.

“Any proposed changes in the number and location of communication centres will be discussed with all relevant stakeholders, including firefighters working at the centres and the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union, before any decisions are made or changes implemented.”

Mr Mitchell said the union wanted answers. 

“They haven’t spoken to any firefighters. Why fix something that’s not
broken?”

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