COUNTY Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has strengthened its IT infrastructure with the help of technology experts ITPS, to allow it to deliver more efficient and resilient 999 call handling and other services.

The eight month project involved a complete upgrade of the IT infrastructure at the Framwellgate Moor HQ site and migration to the new HQ building on Belmont Business Park, Durham.

The Service’s performance and information systems manager, Keith Lazzari, said: “ITPS has been our managed services partner for some years, with a team based onsite at our HQ, working alongside our in-house IT people. When we needed to implement a reliable, future-proof IT infrastructure to take us forward, they won the work in a competitive tender situation.

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“Creating and implementing the new infrastructure while working alongside partners who were installing a new mobilisation platform and replacing back office systems, made this a complex project with far-reaching implications for the service.

“Our Command and Control centre alone handles more than 13,000 emergency calls a year so there was no scope for any interruption in service and together we achieved the aim of making it business as usual for more than 600 staff across our 16 sites.

“ITPS has helped us to invest for greater resilience and protect our previous investment by re-using existing hardware and software across the service, giving us an IT roadmap that will support future development.”

Mark Mason director of Gateshead-based ITPS, said: “We were pleased to have brought such an important project for the Service in on time and within the fixed price we had committed to. CDDFRS knew we understood their business and had faith in our track record for service delivery, so winning this new contract was a real mark of confidence in our abilities.

“Upgrading the IT infrastructure is part of a series of integrated projects that will improve efficiency and underpin the development of services the authority provides to thousands of people, and we are proud that they chose a North East business to play its part in that.”