Ireland

Dublin Fire Brigade not using Eircode to identify locations of emergency calls

Dublin Fire Brigade is not using the €38 million Eircode system to identify the locations of emergency callers more than three years after it was introduced.

The Eircode project, which saw a seven-character alpha-numeric code assigned to all residences and businesses in the State, came into operation in July 2015.

It has often faced criticism since its establishment largely due to delays and it costing €20 million more to set up than initially forecast. It has also emerged that An Post and many freight firms did not use the system to find the locations they deliver to.

A spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade said the east region communications centre (ERCC) uses a computer-aided dispatch system to process calls.

Operators responding to calls search and select an address from the dispatch system’s geographical index, also known as a gazetteer, which determines the most appropriate fire service unit to deal with the incident reported.

The spokesman said the index does not include the Eircode at present, but that operators are asked to log Eircodes if given by members of the public ringing in calls.

“It should be noted that a very large proportion of calls are to locations which are not individual premises such as parks, motorways, bridges, etc, and no Eircodes exist for these locations. However, they are included on the existing gazetteer.”

Operators

The spokesman added that the Irish Fire Service is currently implementing a new national computer-aided dispatch solution which is due to be implemented next year, and will make Eircodes available to operators.

As a unique identifier, Eircode is capable of being installed in satellite navigation systems which could guide emergency services to households and businesses. It is currently used by the National Ambulance Service. It also works with Google maps and other databases.

A complicating factor in creating a postcode system for Ireland was that more than a third of homes have so-called “non-unique” addresses, meaning that at least two properties share the same details.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Communications said the Fire Services command and control systems have indicated they will incorporate Eircode in their datasets in the next upgrade of their command and control system.

The spokeswoman said the Eircode Finder, on which the public can look up postcode, has seen more than 27 million hits since the system launched in July 2015.

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