CALLS to the fire brigade in North Yorkshire could be answered by operators in Cornwall within months.

The fire services in both counties have now finalised a business plan to share a single mobilising system between their control rooms in Northallerton and Truro.

The plan was widely publicised when it was agreed by the North Yorkshire fire authority more than a year ago but now the final pieces have been put into place.

Under the new collaboration Cornwall’s control room will be able to “seamlessly” receive calls and dispatch resources on behalf of North Yorkshire - and vice versa - during busy periods.

The main cause of busy periods for both services is severe weather but, as they are unlikely to have that at the same time, both say the new arrangement, funded through Government grants, should increase capacity to deal with higher call volume.

However it is likely to lead to a reduction in the number of staff on duty in each control room, particularly at night time – although that is expected to be achieved by natural wastage rather than redundancy.

“This will enable the combined capacity across both control rooms to be higher than at present for a single control room, but at less cost,” said a spokesman.