Recent extreme weather events and the likelihood for these to increase due to climate change have brought into sharp focus the need for fire and rescue services throughout the world to look at how they can increase their operational response capability at times of extreme demand. Although additional funding is clearly desirable the hard reality in the current financial climate, particularly in the UK, makes this unlikely for the foreseeable future. The challenge therefore is to maximise existing response capability at all levels and think outside the traditional box in relation to identifying other potential solutions.

When describing London Fire Brigade’s call volume on July 19 this year many media commentators and indeed the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made comparisons with the Blitz. Could a variation in arrangements adopted in 1938 to create an Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) using volunteers to supplement and support the work of fire services be part of the solution to meet today’s challenges?


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