Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service says it will be able to answer 999 calls more effectively after linking their control room with three other forces.

The service has partnered with fire crews in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Humberside, and will be able to offer an even better, more resilient service resulting in quicker response times.

Each fire and rescue service will continue to maintain a 999 control centre, but staff in any one of them would be able to handle calls from across all four areas and mobilise local fire crews, if necessary.

Darryl Keen, chief fire officer at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The vast majority of 999 calls to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue will continue to be answered by our control centre in Hertfordshire, but this partnership gives us a robust back-up so we can continue to answer calls and mobilise fire crews however busy we get and whatever nature throws at us.”

The reason Hertfordshire chose Norfolk, Humberside and Lincolnshire was that the distance between the areas means it is highly unlikely all four would be affected by a serious incident, such as severe weather, at the same time.

Hertfordshire moved across to the system on November 28 and Humberside will transfer in January, with Lincolnshire and Norfolk following later in the year.