The provision of fire services is a statutory function of fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003. The receipt of calls from the public for assistance by the fire service is provided on a 'shared service' basis by three Regional Communications Centres (RCCs) at Limerick, Castlebar and Dublin.
I have no role in relation to legislation, policy, mobilisation arrangements and operational practices of ambulance services.
My Department supports fire authorities mainly through setting national policy and co-ordinating its implementation; providing capital funding for fire appliances, emergency equipment and the construction and upgrading of fire stations; centralised training programmes and co-ordination of the development of guidance on operational and other fire service related matters.
I understand that all calls for fire service assistance are initially answered by the 999/112 Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS). Calls for the fire service are then transferred to one of the three RCCs. The operators in the RCC take relevant information from the caller. A Computer-Aided Mobilising System holds data on the Pre-Determined Attendances (PDAs) for each category of incident and every address in the country.
Once alerted by the RCC, the appropriate response is then decided by each fire service, having regard to national policy, including the PDAs. Where appropriate, the nearest available fire brigade resources and appliances will attend. Fire service mobilisation can also occur on foot of requests from the other emergency services attending an incident.