Increase emergency call management capacity through buddy and consortium arrangements

Control Measure Knowledge

Buddy and consortium arrangements with other emergency controls effectively reduce the delay in emergency calls being answered by redistributing emergency calls during periods of spike or spate conditions.

Fire control commanders should be aware of the methods of emergency call redistribution available and their potential effect on command and management of fire control activities

Buddy arrangements

The term ‘buddy’ is defined as ‘a pre-nominated fire control to be used by the call handling agent for the distribution of calls in times of unexpected pressure’ (Public Emergency Call Service (PECS) Code of Practice). The call handling agent will divert calls to the buddy control according to agreements in place. Calls may be transferred:

  • Automatically, if unanswered by the affected control for a locally defined period
  • At the request of the affected fire control

Some mobilising systems may also be configured to allow for calls to be diverted to nominated buddy’s according to their local arrangements, without intervention from the call handling agent.

Buddy arrangements may allow mobilising to be initiated on behalf of the affected fire control or allow call details to be passed back to the affected fire control for mobilisation. Exact arrangements will vary between fire and rescue services.

Consortium arrangements

A consortium arrangement usually involves a pre-agreed partnership between two or more fire and rescue services. In these circumstances the partner fire controls will have a suitably linked mobilising and communications system that allows one partner to directly manage incidents on behalf of the others, from call taking, incident creation and mobilisation to incident closure. Emergency calls can usually be redistributed between partners automatically without the intervention of the call handling agent.

It is essential that the fire control commander is aware of such arrangements and can identify when consortium fire controls are managing calls on their behalf. The fire control commander should ensure that resources are mobilised and inform consortium controls of any specific advice or survival guidance to pass on to emergency callers.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions