Chief Fire Officer Mark Jones, CFOA spokesperson on standard setting, spoke about the gap between public perception and operational intervention at the Risk Versus Results Roadshow.

Mark Jones criticised general risk aversion in the public sector, suggesting that elements had spread into the Fire and Rescue Service. One example he drew upon was the excessive exclusion zone on acetylene cylinders.

Public expectation of the Fire and Rescue Service is also unrealistic, he said, saying that some members of the public expect firefighters to trade their lives. He also expressed concern about what is perceived to be 'in the public interest'.

CFO Jones went on to explode the myth of the Health and Safety Executive as the "bogey man" in a challenging presentation attacking Fire Service presumptions.

Proposed resolutions included establishing the current public expectation and seeking to educate and manage that; ensuring that the primary mission is not compromised by processes; training and testing staff against expectations of them; identifying future 'confusion risk' when adopting new policies; working closely with prosecuting authorities and judiciary to explain imperatives; and a refreshed approach to guiding commanders and managers to 'do the right thing'.

In closing he said that there is a need to define our intent and what is 'acceptable risk', something, he assured, the public can help with. "No surprises should be our aim when our actions are scrutinised."

For more on Mark Jones' standards setting role with the Chief Fire Officers Association visit: 

For more live coverage from the Manchester Roadshow visit: 

Follow FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch's live coverage: @Fire_Editor


Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 1525 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: