Live incident videos from callers one of many changes to Brigade’s 999 Control


Control officers in the London Fire Brigade can now live stream vital incident footage from the smart phone cameras of Londoners, as the Brigade introduces new technology to help its responders give the best possible information to emergency callers.

999Eye enables callers to send live stream videos of incidents straight into the Brigade’s 999 control centre without the need for an app. The facility, which is delivered by Capita plc, provides Control officers with greater situational awareness at the crucial early stage of an incident and enhances their decision-making process.

The Brigade is committed to making changes in response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s Phase 1 report and the HMICFRS 2019 inspection report and 999Eye is one of many improvements it has made. Changes to the Brigade’s Control policy and procedures, enhancements to training and development and new equipment and processes, are all part of a new approach to the way it deals with emergency calls. For example, new communication protocols between senior staff in Control, the Incident Commander and the meeting place where crews are mobilised, have now been established so that information can relayed back and forth more easily.

Committed to making improvements

Assistant Commissioner for Operational Resilience and Control Jonathan Smith said: “We accepted all of the recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s Phase 1 report and are committed to making improvements in our ability to capture  999 and fire survival guidance calls.

“Control Officers work tirelessly under extreme pressure and we want them to have access to state of the art technologies, procedures and training to do the best possible job. 999Eye provides better situational awareness and allows us to offer the best advice based on live footage, that could make a difference. It is one of many wider improvements we are implementing to improve safety in London.”

When a 999 call is received by the Brigade, the caller may be asked if they would like to provide a live video stream of the scene using their smartphone. The Control Officer will send a text message with a secure, one-time-use link that opens a live stream direct from the phone to the Control room. It does not cost the caller extra, no other data is taken from or stored on the caller’s phone and a receipt is sent after the call for the caller’s records.

  • Regular scheduled training packages for all Control Officers on incidents which are rare but have a big impact on Londoners, such as: terrorism, chemical spillages, incidents where fire survival guidance is required
  • Using technology to better communicate and work in partnership with LAS and MPS.
  • A new training suite which allows control staff to take part in more training simulating a live environment
  • A new quality assurance process for emergency calls
  • During fire survival guidance situations, a dedicated communication pathway between the Incident Commander, the bridgehead (on scene mobilising point) and Senior Officer in Control and
  • A more structured approach to recording information to enable control staff to quickly ring back callers who are trapped in a building, in order to pass on any change in guidance or additional information

Brigade Control receives more than 150,000 calls a year and answers 999 calls in 2.4 seconds on average. It plays a central role in assisting Londoners during an emergency. Control staff establish the location of an incident, they gather information to assist the firefighters so they can deal with the incident as soon as they arrive and they send the fire engines immediately. Staff play a pivotal role in ensuring the Brigade can meet its average attendance time of six minutes for a first fire engine and eight minutes for a second fire engine. Control officers also provide vital advice and guidance to callers while they wait for crews to arrive. 

Paul Eggleton, managing director of Capita’s Secure Solutions and Services, said: “We are proud to work alongside LFB and provide our solutions to one of the world’s leading emergency services. Our Vision Command and Control software has helped reduce attendance times by providing vital information direct from the scene, to the benefit of public and officer safety.”