Technology to make the difference in Island’s battle against fire

Technology could make the difference in the Island’s battle against fires. 

Retained Firefighters could be called out to fire shouts based on their current location.

This idea is the brainchild of Isle of Wight Councillor Tig Outlaw cabinet member for community safety and public protection.

Rather than call retained Firefighters to jobs based on the station they are attached to, Cllr Outlaw says “exploratory work” is being done to see if modern technology can improve efficiency and response times to shouts.

The news comes as the Isle of Wight Council and Hampshire’s Fire and Rescue Authority (HFRA) are considering the formation of a combined fire authority for the two counties, including Portsmouth and Southampton.

Firefighter stock image courtesy of @freshwaterfire

The public are being invited to give their views during a 12-week consultation starting August 6.

The findings will go back to the Isle of Wight Council and HFRA for consideration on whether or not to submit an application to the government to form a new combined authority. The final decision will rest with the Home Secretary and is expected in January 2019.

Conservative representative for Lake North, Cllr Outlaw, said: “There is exploratory work currently being carried out to look at ways in which staff could be called to the nearest fire station if working elsewhere on the Island, as opposed to being within a few minutes of the local station.”

An impact study on the use of technology for retained Firefighters will be presented to cabinet in October.

Cllr Outlaw continued: “I am meeting staff from the watches and retained duty staff at various locations now and throughout the next five to six weeks.

“These meetings are private meetings for me to discuss matters directly with Firefighters. However, we are also currently arranging a number of meetings in the three service localities so that town and parish councils can be invited to discuss with me and senior fire officers the potential implications of a combined fire authority between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire. Once these are arranged parish and town councils will be invited.”

Ruby the fire dog – Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

There are a number of ways for people to take part in the consultation before the deadline of October 26. A response form for views from Island residents is available online at or they can email Paper copies of the response form are available by calling 023 8062 6815. Translated, braille, audio and large print forms can also be obtained.