The Mobilising and Communications Centre is the hub of the Service. All 999 emergency calls requesting the Fire & Rescue Service and originating within East Sussex are routed to this centre.
Once received, mobilising staff determine the nearest appliances to the incident and mobilise the appropriate resources.
During the course of a year, M&CC mobilise to some 14000 incidents (fires and special service calls) and process in excess of 21000 emergency calls.
M&CC is crewed 24 hours a day by four watches each consisting of six members of staff, together with a Fire Control Officer and Systems Manager.
Prior to 1974, four Brigades provided fire cover for the county of East Sussex. These were situated in Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton and East Sussex. Each Brigade maintained its own Control Room, mobilising their own appliances.
In 1974 Local Government amalgamation took place and the four Brigades were merged into one East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. The Control Room was centralised at King Henry’s Road in Lewes but took several years to fully complete.
The next milestone in our history was in 1986 when a new Control building was built in North Street, Lewes adjacent to the Fire Station. Along with the new building came our first computerised mobilising system known as FIRECAT. This was a complete revolution for Control Staff moving from paper to screens, and not only having learn how to use a new mobilising system but also a new telephone system.
This new mobilising system consisted of dual computers each with a mighty 40MB hard disk (a large beast in those days), and 7 operators VDU’s all connected via a local area network.
Exactly one year to the day from going "live" the County was hit by a hurricane. Almost 1000 calls were handled by Control on that day and the system worked very well throughout the day.
The system life of FIRECAT was 10 years, so in 1993 a project team was set up to look for a suitable replacement. In 1995 a contract was let to Marconi to provide the Brigade with it’s next generation of mobilising system known as MACE. Once again the system consisted of dual computers each with 540MB hard disks with 7 operator consoles, each with their own personal computer which links them to the main mobilising computer.
Towards the end of 1998, the Brigade decided that the work undertaken by Control Staff should be reflected in the name of the department. Therefore, the department's name was changed to the Mobilising and Communications Centre.
In October 2000, the town of Lewes was hit by severe floods, and, although the Mobilising and Communications Centre had been built at a height to withstand a one in fifty year chance of flooding, this was not sufficient to stop flood water entering the building to a depth of 2 feet. This caused the M&CC staff to be evacuated to their secondary control at Brigade Headquarters, where they remained for 5 days until a more permanent secondary base could be provided at Hove Fire Station. Here they remained until December when they were able to return to Lewes.
When the Brigade decided to move to Headquarters in Eastbourne, the decision was made to relocate the M&CC to the same building. In February 2001, M&CC moved to the new facilities at Brigade Headquarters (now ESFRS Headquarters).