A climate of constantly changing business data
Today’s economic climate sees businesses come and go at a faster pace than ever before. As a result, when a Fire and Rescue Service is called to an incident, the data on the business operating from that property might not always be accurate. This can inevitably lead to delays in the deployment of appropriate response vehicles to the scene, with unthinkable consequences.
Out-of-date or inaccurate business data impacts the efficiency of emergency call outs
As well as a growing trend for short-lived pop-up shops appearing on our high streets, established businesses continually move, change names or close down, and new start-ups are born. This ebb and flow of businesses in our local communities can create a severe drain on fire and rescue services’ resources, as often address changes are not as promptly recorded as they are needed. When there is a gap in the available business address information, a Fire Command and Control Centre may need several people simultaneously searching the internet for information that might, or might not, be correct.
This was a very real challenge for the Network Fire Services Partnership (NFSP) – a collaboration between Devon & Somerset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Services. Through a shared Command and Control System, the aim of this partnership was to enable a more efficient deployment of fire and rescue services to an emergency call out. However, the efficiency of reaching business emergencies promptly was being significantly tested.
Embedding accurate 118 business information into the gazetteer management system
The NFSP was already sharing Idox’s Aligned Assets gazetteer, so it seemed a natural progression to move to sharing and accessing the most accurate business data from 118 Information through the Business Names software. This business address data is the most accurate and comprehensive list of businesses actively trading in the UK, and is maintained by continued verification through direct contact with businesses. By embedding the 118 business information into the gazetteer management system, it was possible to fill any gaps within the existing AddressBase Premium dataset, and feed this most up-to-date business data into NFSP’s Vision Command and Control system provided by Capita.
Correctly identify and communicate business address data to reduce emergency attendance times
Stuart King, NFSP ABR Vision Lead & Fire Control System DC, reflects on what the partnership set out to achieve: “Our key goals were about time savings. It was crucial to reduce our call handling time by accurately finding the business in the Command and Control gazetteer. We also wanted to reduce fire crews’ attendance time by being able to correctly identify and communicate the business name and address. In the past, we’d often had to rely on crews actually seeing fire and smoke to identify the location of an incident, and as we know, not all emergencies are identifiable that way.
“Since enhancing our gazetteer with 118 Information, we’ve seen a more accurate identification of business addresses for our 999 call handlers and operation crews. This has led to an average reduction in Business Incidents’ attendance times of 30 seconds – and that can mean the difference between life and death.”
A further efficiency the NFSP has benefitted from has been the reduction of at least 90% in requests to amend gazetteer entries from 999 calls. This has dropped from between 10 and 20 per month/per fire service to none at all, or only the very occasional one. This means resources used to manually update the gazetteer can be better spent responding to emergency calls.
This simple but innovative use of data and expertise from different sectors has led to an extra 45,000 business addresses being available to the NFSP for emergency response in the South West. This has provided greater safety and security for all those businesses, their employees and their customers.
Idox acquired Aligned Assets in 2021, bringing together the pioneering Aligned Assets solution with its own built environment software to offer the most accurate and comprehensive address data solutions on the market.