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Fire Services: Terrorism

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the risk of (a) co-ordinated terror attacks and (b) collective systems failure at the proposed new nine regional fire control rooms; and if she will make a statement. (157479)

FiReControl will form part of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure (CNI). The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has been consulted regarding general threats to the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, and specific threats to the fire and rescue services.

Full threat and risk assessments, to HMG security standards, have been conducted (and are continually revised and updated) to examine all threats to the FiReControl system; physical and electronic attacks, both deliberate and accidental. These include threats relating to terrorist activity.

The threats have been considered; together with an assessment of their likelihood and the impact they could have on the business functions of FiReControl, to determine the appropriate countermeasures for the system. These countermeasures consist of a combination of physical, procedural and technical measures.

The FiReControl systems are being designed to ensure they are resistant to collective systems failures across the network. These requirements have been included in the contract for provision of the technology. Risk assessments of system failures were conducted prior to selecting the preferred supplier. These assessments addressed the reliability of the technology itself, and the possibility of external events which could cause system failure.

To provide a further level of resilience, CLG is developing business continuity plans in conjunction with experts from the fire and rescue service to ensure that the control service can continue if there is a system failure.