Oxfordshire firefighters celebrate Thames Valley collaboration

Oxfordshire firefighters are celebrating their ongoing collaboration with the services in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire delivering increased effectiveness to residents across the Thames Valley.

Firefighters in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire gathered at Blenheim Palace to showcase their ongoing collaborative partnership, which is delivering increased efficiencies and effectiveness to residents across the Thames Valley.

On show in front of the Great Court were new Volvo fire engines – shared between the three fire services to ensure maximum flexibility and reduced response times – and an aerial ladder platform. Crews proudly showed off the latest personal protective equipment.

Electric vehicles, purchased by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service in a drive to lower carbon emissions, were also on display.

Firefighters in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire gathered at Blenheim Palace to showcase their ongoing collaborative partnership. (photo from Oxfordshire County Council)

Cllr Glynis Phillips, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services, said: “I am proud to be part of the celebrations of this joint working across Thames Valley’s fire and rescue teams. These services not only do outstanding work in keeping us safe but are using working collaboratively to realise efficiencies and become even more cost effective.”

One of the collaboration’s successes has been opening the Thames Valley Fire Control Service (TVFCS). The highly effective joint control room for the three fire services marked its sixth anniversary in July 2021. It replaced fire and rescue service control rooms in Aylesbury, Kidlington and Reading and is now responsible for answering over 200,000 calls from an area populated by 2.3 million residents.

There are further projects in progress, designed to make savings of over £1.2 million per year for the three fire and rescue services, while ensuring crews remain efficient in their prompt responses to emergencies.

Rob MacDougall, chief fire officer for Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is a great example of where the collaboration work that we are all committed to delivers key benefits and improved effectiveness to all the communities we serve in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes, and Royal Berkshire.”