New Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services

Andy Cooke has been appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. He replaces Sir Thomas Winsor, who leaves the inspectorate after nearly a decade in post

Andy Cooke joined Merseyside Police in 1985 having obtained an Honours Degree in Politics from Nottingham University. He served as a detective at every rank.

Throughout his career, Andy has had numerous roles including being in charge of the Robbery Squad and Target Operations at the Major Crime Unit. He became the first Commander of the nationally recognised ‘Matrix’ team, responsible for tackling gun and gang enabled crime.

During his time as Area Commander for South Liverpool, Andy was instrumental in significantly reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and disorder with South Liverpool becoming one of the highest performing basic command units in the country.

In 2008, Andy was appointed Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary where he held the roles of ACC Specialist Operations and ACC Territorial Operations. He returned to Merseyside in 2012, was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in 2013 and in 2016 he was appointed Chief Constable. During this time, Andy led the biggest reorganisation in Merseyside Police’s 40-year history. Whilst he was Chief, the force was graded as the highest performing metropolitan Force by HMICFRS.

Nationally, Andy held some of the highest risk portfolios in policing. In addition to leading the creation of the UK Protected Persons Service, he was the national policing lead for serious organised crime and national lead for crime.

Andy has also been commended on ten occasions and in 2014 was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of the Merseyside Lieutenancy and an Adjunct Professor within the School of Justice Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

Latest convoy of UK Fire Service kit and equipment is on its way to Ukraine

A further convoy of UK Fire Service kit and equipment has now left the UK and is on its way to Ukraine to provide vital support to the Ukrainian firefighters who are hard pressed dealing with the throes of war

The convoy which has been supported by the Home Office has been organised by UK charity FIRE AID and International Development, the National Fire Chiefs Council and the wider fire industry.

This second deployment to provide life-saving kit and equipment is even larger than the previous one which went out in March, with 21 vehicles making this journey.

National Fire Chiefs Council Chair Mark Hardingham said: “Fire and rescue services from across the country have all donated firefighting equipment which have been requested by Ukraine, to help its fire and rescue service as they continue their life-saving work in the most difficult conditions imaginable.”

One hundred fire stations and 250 fire engines have been destroyed in Ukraine with a number of firefighters tragically losing their lives as they battle to protect their country.

More than 60 UK firefighters will join FIRE AID volunteers as part of the team driving the vehicles across Europe, where it will be received by the Polish State Fire Service before it is transferred to Ukraine.

Fire engines, helmets, thermal imaging cameras to assist when searching for people, generators, lighting, hose, rescue equipment, and thousands of sets of firefighting PPE are among the items being donated.

The deployment of these donations is being supported by funding from the Home Office, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the FIA Foundation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Our fire and rescue services are going above and beyond to support the effort in Ukraine and I am proud to once again support a convoy of Fire Service equipment being sent to those in desperate need. This is a phenomenal collaborative effort between our government, the NFCC, FIRE AID and the fire sector and shows how together we can make a real difference to the lives of the people in Ukraine.”

Claire Hoyland, Project Manager, FIRE AID, commented: “I speak with our Ukrainian partners and the state emergency services almost every day. Equipment is currently being destroyed, damaged, or lost on a huge scale as firefighters face unimaginable devastation on the frontlines. The way in which UK fire services and our members have mobilised to support them makes me so proud. EASST, in particular, has been a huge support, donating essential staff time and resources to make all this happen. Ukraine needs our help, and we will continue to offer it as long as we are able to.”

Ian Moore, Chief Executive, Fire Industry Association, said: “Once again, the whole of the fire industry has come together to support the UK deployment of aid through FIRE AID, our charity partner.

“To pull this together so quickly and efficiently is a truly collaborative humanitarian response from the UK. Our members who have donated time, money and equipment have one aim; to work alongside our colleagues and help the firefighters in Ukraine.”

Mark Hardingham added: “To see another convoy of this size go out is testament to the incredible hard work and determination of everyone who has been involved. It really has been a phenomenal effort and to see fire and rescue services, FIREAID, the sector and NFCC work together to achieve so much in such a short period of time is testament to everyone’s commitment and dedication.

“We continue to see horrific scenes unfold every day and this equipment will go some way to assist our Ukrainian colleagues as they continue with their biggest challenge to date, while putting their own lives at risk, with limited resources. Any help UK fire and rescue services can give, will be given gladly.”

The wider fire sector – including the MSA Safety, Fire Sector Federation, the Fire and Rescue Suppliers Council and the Fire Industry Association – are key partners in supporting and making the deployment.

Data Intelligence: Shaping the Future for Fire Conference

Booking for a two-day data conference, hosted by members of the NFCC Digital and Data Programme, is now open

The conference, to be held on June 13-14 in Liverpool, will inform and engage with strategic leaders and those in professional data roles around how effective use of data can significantly drive transformation in the Fire and Rescue Service.

HMICFRS and Home Office have identified data as a key priority to drive transformation and reform in the Fire and Rescue Service, and senior leaders are encouraged to attend to support data specialists in delivering against these priorities.

The conference programme will be released shortly and will be packed full of engaging, inspiring and thought-provoking sessions to showcase how data is being used both across the fire sector and our everyday lives to shape how leaders make transformational strategic decisions.

Places are limited and early booking is advised on the NFCC website:

Fire Investigation Fire Standard launched

The Fire Standards Board reports on launching the tenth professional Fire Standard

The Fire Investigation Fire Standard focuses on ensuring fire and rescue services deliver effective, efficient and valid fire investigations into the origin, cause and development of fire.

One of the desired outcomes of the Fire Investigation Fire Standard is that services will have a competent and resilient capability to undertake fire investigations, adhering to relevant legislation, guidance and codes of practice. The Fire Investigation Fire Standard also makes reference to the ISO 17020 Conformity Assessment.

The development of this standard has been led by NFCC Lead for Fire Investigation Chris Blacksell, and the NFCC Fire Investigation Committee.

One of the expected benefits of achieving the Fire Standard is the improved safety and wellbeing of members of the public (FRS communities) and FRS employees; by identifying risk and communicating product safety issues. More expected benefits can be found within the standard.

As with all Fire Standards, there is a corresponding Fire Standards Implementation Tool to support services with the implementation. The tool was designed to support services in assessing how well they meet the standard; helping them to build an action plan to identify and address any gaps. This can be found on the Fire Standards Board website:

Chair of the Fire Standards Board Suzanne McCarthy, said: “The Fire Investigation Fire Standard builds on our increasing portfolio of professional fire standards, driving continuous improvement across the sector.

“Thank you to those individuals and services for their work in bringing the standard together; ensuring that like all of our published standards, it’s been developed by the sector, for the sector, and is a benchmark of good practice.”

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “I’m delighted to see the launch of the Fire Investigation Fire Standard which will support all fire and rescue services to follow a consistent and robust process when conducting these investigations.

“Fire investigators perform a vital role in helping to improve public safety, not least through contributing evidence to the justice system and supporting the development of prevention, protection and operational response activities.

“I am also comforted to know that this standard will champion post-incident wellbeing support for investigators, aiding their health in conducting their challenging roles.”

Whilst it is not mandatory for services to comply with the fire standards, the National Fire Framework makes clear that services are expected to pay due regard to Fire Standards as will the HMICFRS in their inspections. The Fire Standards Board anticipates that in many cases services are already achieving the outcomes which are the foundation of each fire standard.

Fire chiefs support campaign calling for emergency service workers to be recognised posthumously

The National Fire Chiefs Council reports on supporting the campaign calling for emergency service workers to be recognised posthumously

The campaign has been launched by the Police Federation of England and Wales, the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Prison Officers’ Association.

NFCC Chair Mark Hardingham spoke to BBC Breakfast about the campaign: “Any emergency services worker who loses their life in the line of duty is a stark reminder of how they put their lives at risk each and every day.

“The National Fire Chiefs Council is fully supportive of emergency services staff being formally recognised for their ultimate sacrifice. To have such devastating losses commemorated might offer some comfort to their family and friends.

“The reality is every day when an emergency service worker leaves for a shift, they do so knowing they may well have to put themselves in significant danger to protect the lives of others.”

The campaign is calling for unique recognition for emergency service workers who make the ultimate sacrifice and is asking the government to create a new posthumously awarded ‘medal’.

This would mean people would be awarded a medal similar in status to the Elizabeth Cross. This is awarded to the bereaved relatives of members of the British Armed Forces who were killed in military action.

The National Firefighter Memorial in London recognises the thousand firefighters who died in the second world war (1,000 names), while there is a lasting memorial at the National Arboretum to the contribution made by all these firefighters.

Where a member of the Fire and Rescue Service is killed or seriously injured then every fire service has a wide range of support in place for their families and fire service colleagues. This is vital to provide support and help people come to terms with such tragedies. This is also provided by The Fire Fighters Charity along with unions and the wider fire sector.

The Firefighters Memorial Trust awards their Firefighters Memorial Medal to the next of kin of members of the Fire and Rescue Service who died as a result of their duties. The engraved medal is mounted within a framed certificate and presented on a suitable occasion, agreed by the family.

  • Between April 2007 and April 2008, nine firefighters lost their lives. Four tragically died during one incident in Warwickshire in 2007, which was the worst incident of multiple firefighter fatalities in the UK since 1972.
  • In 1960 at a warehouse in Glasgow, 14 firefighters and five from the Glasgow Salvage corps lost their lives, which was Britain’s worst firefighter disaster since WW2. While in 972, seven Glasgow firefighters died during a fire at a cash and carry warehouse in the city, after being killed in a flashover.

Old clothes scheme scoops £5 million for The Fire Fighters Charity

The Fire Fighters Charity has raised more than £5 million in its clothes recycling scheme since it was first launched 12 years ago, passing this incredible milestone earlier this year

The scheme is run in partnership with fire and rescue services and textile recycling companies across the UK and invites members of the public to donate their unwanted clothing in banks placed outside fire stations and in community sites across the country.

It was thought up by a firefighter in Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, with the first bank placed outside Kettering Fire Station in 2010. The scheme has grown from there, with 950 fire stations across the UK now taking part.

The charity’s eight recycling partners – D. Robinson & Co, Beaumonts Recycling, Clyde Recycling, ASTCO, Roberts Recycling, Elm Tree Textiles, LMB and VPR Clothing – make regular visits to the banks to collect the donations, before rediverting the clothes away from landfill – with all proceeds donated to The Fire Fighters Charity.

Kevin Biles, The Fire Fighters Charity’s Sales Manager, said: “Our clothes recycling scheme has been hugely successful since we launched it and this is purely down to fantastic teamwork along the way.

“On behalf of the whole charity, I want to thank all of our clothes recycling partners, our fire and rescue services across the UK, our charity teammates and volunteers, and every single person who has donated their clothing in one of our clothing banks. Here’s to the next £5 million, thank you everyone!”

Shaun Hallam, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I am delighted that the partnership with The Fire Fighters Charity and recycling companies has made such a meaningful difference financially and environmentally, and I am proud that we have been able to celebrate passing the £5 million milestone, generated purely through people’s unwanted clothing.

“This nationwide initiative not only enables The Fire Fighters Charity to support thousands of Fire and Rescue Service personnel with their health and wellbeing, when they need it most, but also diverts a huge amount of unwanted clothing away from landfill.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to the local communities in supporting their local fire station through their clothing donations, it is making a huge difference and I encourage everyone to continue to support the charity and donate clothing to any of the yellow clothing banks outside fire stations around the country.”

To find out more about recycling your clothing in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity, visit:

Remembering a fallen firefighter

A plaque to remember a fallen firefighter has been unveiled 113 years after he died in the line of duty, after a social media plea to find relatives was successful

William Fraser was aged 28 and a father to a new-born baby when he lost his life fighting a large warehouse fire in Aberdeen, on March 2, 1909. He was knocked off a ladder at the site by debris, falling 40 feet to the ground. He died ten minutes after falling.

His great, great granddaughter came forward after recognising her relative’s story on a Facebook post by Firefighter Ross Urquhart of Central Community Fire Station, who has helped organise the plaque, and Mr Fraser’s family were then involved with the unveiling.

He is believed to be the last serving firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in Aberdeen.

The plaque is situated at Adelphi Court, where the fire took place, and was unveiled last month.

The plaque unveiling was prefaced by a small service involving Mr Fraser’s family at Trinity Cemetery, followed by a procession involving fire engines including a 1915 model North East Scottish Fire Heritage Club engine, which travelled along Aberdeen main streets King Street and Union Street. It was led by a piper for its final 50 metres.

That procession route was close to that of Mr Fraser’s funeral procession, which according to the Aberdeen Journal was attended by thousands of people, bringing Aberdeen to a standstill and featured a fire engine drawn by four black horses.

The plaque that was unveiled is a Red Plaque. The Red Plaque scheme aims to commemorate firefighters who died in the line of duty and is administered by the Fire Brigades Union. This is the first Red Plaque in the area.

It reads: ‘Honouring the bravery and sacrifice of William Fraser of Aberdeen Central Fire Station who gave his life in the line of duty at Adelphi Court, Aberdeen 2 March 1909’.

Ross Urquhart, the firefighter and FBU member who did the research for the plaque and found Mr Fraser’s descendants, said: “Red plaques remind us of the extraordinary sacrifices that firefighters make, and we are glad to be able to honour the only firefighter to die in the line of duty in Aberdeen with one. As an Aberdeen firefighter today I wanted to make sure that William was remembered appropriately. I felt we owed him that.”

Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “William Fraser died over a century ago but the day we should stop remembering his bravery and sacrifice will never come. No firefighter who dies in the line of duty should ever be forgotten, and William will not be. Everyday members of the public will see this plaque and remember that he  ve his life.

“William left a new-born baby behind, and we are extremely glad that descendants of him were with us today as we unveil this plaque.”

At the unveiling itself there were words read on the family’s behalf by Mr Fraser’s great grandson, as well as speeches from Matt Wrack, Aberdeen City local senior official Chay Ewing and Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett. There was also a minute’s silence, and wreath-laying.

North Yorkshire donates £56,000 to The Fire Fighters Charity

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has donated a massive £56,000 to The Fire Fighters Charity following its annual bonfire and firework display – the most raised at any fire and rescue service bonfire night event

Watch Manager Bruce Reid has organised the Rawcliffe Country Park event every year since 2013 with the help of his colleagues, York Firefighter Terence Gregg and Watch Manager Peter Barrett – and around 10,000 people attended this year, the highest number in the event’s history.

Speaking about the amount raised, Bruce said: “We were blown away by the number of people who attended. With the previous year being cancelled due to Covid-19, we were unsure how popular the event would be, but it surpassed all our expectations. Our thanks go to the people of York and the surrounding area for their support. We are truly grateful, as without them, it would not have been possible.

“I’ve been involved with the charity for many years and it is an organisation very close to my heart. I am absolutely thrilled that we are able to support them in this way. I would also like to thank Terence and Peter, as their help and support is invaluable to ensure the event can go ahead.”

North Yorkshire’s Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe presented a cheque to the charity’s Chief Executive Dr Jill Tolfrey at a ceremony held at North Yorkshire FRS’ headquarters recently.

Dr Jill Tolfrey said: “Thank you to Bruce, Peter and Terence for their organisation, and all volunteers who helped make this such a fantastic event, as well as all those who attended and supported our charity.

“To see so many people come together in support of the UK’s fire services shows just how much the work they do is appreciated, and to raise such a huge amount in the process is really incredible. It was a real pleasure to be able to receive the cheque from Zoë Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, on behalf of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service at the Annual Award Ceremony.

“These funds will go directly towards supporting thousands of Fire Service personnel and their spouses, partners and dependants every year, for years to come, ensuring we can continue to be there for them when they need us most. On behalf of everyone at The Fire Fighters Charity, a huge thank you to all involved.”

Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe added: “Thank you to everyone involved in raising such a substantial amount of money for The Fire Fighters Charity. Our fire and rescue service plays a major role in keeping communities safe and this donation will contribute to continued availability of specialist lifelong health and wellbeing support that is beneficial for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue personnel.”

Jon Foster, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be in a position to present this amount of money to The Fire Fighters Charity – an organisation that is invaluable in supporting the fire sector, therefore very close to our hearts. A special thanks go to Bruce, Terence and Peter for all their hard work in organising this event, and all in their own time.

“This is now an annual event providing a great opportunity for the public to enjoy bonfire night and a fantastic professional firework display in a safe environment, but above all raising vital funds for the charity.”

Members of the fire services community in need of support with their health and wellbeing can call The Fire Fighters Charity’s Support Line on: 0800 3898820; or visit:

South Yorkshire appoint Deputy Chief Fire Officer

Tony Carlin has been named South Yorkshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer following a competitive selection process

Tony Carlin, who is currently the service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, was promoted following multiple recruitment stages and an interview by the fire authority’s appointments committee.

Tony joined South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in 2000, having begun his career as a firefighter in North Yorkshire in 1992. He has built up a broad range of experience within the Fire and Rescue Service – overseeing areas including community and business fire safety, workforce development, training and data and performance. He has also acted as a workplace mentor to other leaders within the Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Tony Damms said: “The selection process was both competitive and thorough, so for Tony to come out on top is testament to his exceptional ability and experience. The qualities he demonstrated to the appointments committee will be important as the service looks to continue its improvement journey.”

Tony Carlin said: “It’s an incredible honour to be appointed to this position, having served the people of South Yorkshire for more than 20 years. I very much look forward to using my skills and experience to further improve the service and its culture and to help develop the next generation of leaders within a fire and rescue service which I love.”

Tony will take up his new role this month, when the current Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby steps into the Chief Fire Officer role after current Chief Alex Johnson QFSM retires.

‘Like a rugby team, there’s a place for everyone in the Fire Service’

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is launching a recruitment campaign for more on-call firefighters. Woodstock Fire Station’s Watch Manager Nick Mason shares his experiences from 18 years in the fire service

Rugby fanatic Nick Mason makes a number of comparisons between his favourite sport and being an on-call firefighter with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, breaking some misconceptions along the way.

Nick – who has been Woodstock Fire Station’s Watch Manager and a firefighter for 18 years – played scrum half for Witney Rugby Club for 14 years. “Like in a rugby team, there’s a place for everyone in fire and rescue; from the heavily built, to the slim sprinter, the slow one, and the tall one,” he says.

When talking to potential new recruits, Nick also describes the fire engine as “a huge toolbox on wheels,” reflecting the diverse range of incidents that he and colleagues attend. The vehicle is equipped to deal with each circumstance such as structural fires, road traffic collisions, water rescues, and hazardous materials incidents.

Diverse Range of Roles

Nick says that in today’s fire service, the diverse range of incidents and roles mean there is not a one size fits all. At 59, he is also keen to point out that age is not a barrier to joining the Oxfordshire team either.

Nick explains: “I remember someone saying to me, you’ll know when you’ve grown up; police and firefighters will all look younger than you. That’s not today’s Fire and Rescue Service, I’m a fair example of that. I’m keen we recruit more older people, women and residents from minority ethnic groups. The modern Fire Service must be and should be diverse, reflecting multi-cultural Oxfordshire.”

This Woodstock-based firefighter is opening a door to many people who have perhaps considered applying to join the service but thought that age, and lack of fitness, would go against them.

“Come and find out if you have what it takes,” enthuses Nick. “If you don’t try, you don’t know. Any new recruit will be given first class fitness training and because today’s Fire Service is so much more than putting out fires and attending major incidents, intellect is just as important as strength.”

In fact, Nick enjoys the interaction with local communities arranging road safety events, visits to local schools, safe and well visits in the home – fitting smoke alarms – and at the lighter but equally important end of the scale, participating in fundraising charity bashes like car washes in aid of the firefighters’ charity.

“We tend to have a topic for every month of the year to get a seasonal safety message out to the public,” says Nick. “My fire station is also prolific in raising money for children in need. If you’re a people person, you’ll fit in nicely.”

Challenging Sides to the Role

He acknowledges that there are challenging sides to the role, such as attending serious injury incidents, but the Fire Service has evolved to protect and support its crews at distressing times.

“We always complete detailed after-incident debriefs, making sure any crew member who has attended challenging incidents gets necessary help if required. Luckily, these tragic events are few and far between, which I hope in some cases is due to our interaction with communities through our fire safety and road safety education initiatives.”

“I’m a proud grandad to my seven-month-old Logan. The family stuff sits side by side with everything that’s special about being a member of Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service.

“My new family member got me thinking of another reason why we want more older residents to join the service. Our younger recruits are stars but we often lose them all too quickly. When they start, they might be living at home but then move out of the area to find their own place or to chase their career dreams; on-call firefighters are only part-time.

“The further you get in life, often the more settled you become. Your career outside the Fire Service plateaus, you’ve less time to go until the mortgage is repaid. You’re settled with your lot in life, looking for an extra commitment to play a part in your local community.

“I guess my message is that you’re never too old to be considered. Straightforward, if you’re in two minds about joining the Fire Service – get in contact.”

Scottish Government launches Water Safety Action Plan

New safety measures have been introduced to protect the public by the Scottish Government following a number of tragic water deaths

Extra funding, improved signs and lesson plans for pupils are all part of a new Water Safety Action Plan. The plan has been drawn up by the Scottish Government and a range of key organisations following a number of tragic water deaths.

Partners on the Water Safety Stakeholder Group have committed to further develop partnership working to help prevent drownings and agree a range of key actions including:

  • New water safety promotions targeted at areas with a higher risk of drowning, improved signage at popular locations including lochs and reservoirs and a risk assessment of beaches
  • Additional funding of £60,000 for Water Safety Scotland to develop its co-ordination role for all organisations with an interest in water safety
  • Roll-out of a drowning incident review scheme to ensure lessons are learned from all fatal and non-fatal incidents
  • Lesson plans on water safety for pupils
  • Continued development of the National Learn to Swim Framework delivered with local authorities
  • Scotland’s Water Safety Code developed to ensure consistency of public messages on key issues including hidden hazards and cold-water shock
  • Training for businesses and the public on how to use rescue equipment and review of 999 procedures.

Community Safety Minister Ash Regan, who chaired the stakeholder group, said: “The Scottish Government takes water safety very seriously and this action plan includes a range of key steps agreed with our partners to further mitigate the risks from Scotland’s coastal and inland waters.

“Scotland’s beaches, rivers, reservoirs and lochs are amongst our finest natural resources, but beautiful as they are they can be a source of lethal danger and we continue to see the tragic consequences of that.

“The actions in the plan are targeted at creating a safer environment in Scotland. But whether it’s sailing, swimming, diving or fishing, anyone undertaking recreational activities in and around water must be fully aware of the risks and take every possible precaution.”

Chair of Water Safety Scotland Michael Avril said: “We would like to thank the Minister for taking a proactive approach to the prevention of drownings in Scotland. The release of this action plan – created in partnership with member organisations – compliments Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy.

“Today, we have published the interim review of the strategy and we are hopeful this, combined with the action plan and increased collaboration from partners, will help Scotland meet its key targets to reduce accidental drowning fatalities by 50 per cent by 2026 and contribute to reduction of water-related suicide.”

The membership of the action plan group:

  • Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • Her Majesty’s Coastguard
  • Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
  • Police Scotland
  • Royal Lifesaving Society
  • Royal National Lifeboat Institution
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Scottish Canals
  • Scottish Community Safety Network
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Government (including Education Scotland and Marine Scotland)
  • sportscotland
  • Scottish Swimming
  • Scottish Water
  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
  • Water Safety Scotland.

Fire service creates garden in memory of Sandy Firefighter Chris Page

Members of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service joined to commemorate the life of Firefighter Chris Page, who sadly passed away in January 2021 after contracting Covid-19

Chris was a highly regarded firefighter in Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and served at Sandy Fire Station for 19 years. He had also delivered the Fire Cadet Scheme for the past 15 years.

The crew and cadets at Sandy thought that a good way to celebrate Chris’s life was to create a Memorial Garden in his memory with the assistance of some local businesses. Work started in the Autumn of 2021 and was completed a few weeks ago.

Chris’ Partner Sue and her family were invited to the opening ceremony and Sue finished the planting of a Maple Tree that was donated by Sandy Town Council and was also presented with Chris’ service axe and certificate of service (18 years and 8 months).

The Chief Fire Officer Andy Hopkinson presented the axe and certificate to the family. Also in attendance were ex-colleagues of Chris and serving crews from Potton and Biggleswade, representatives of Sandy Town Council, Chair of Fire and Rescue Authority John Chatterley, Assistant CFO and Sandy cadets who had served under Chris as their lead instructor.

London firefighter returns to work a year after catching Covid-19

A London Fire Brigade firefighter is celebrating returning to work for the first time in a year with support from The Fire Fighters Charity after she contracted Covid-19, which developed into ‘Long Covid’ – leaving her bedbound for weeks on endSarah King, 43, attended a programme run by The Fire Fighters Charity at the end of last year, which is dedicated to Fire and Rescue Service personnel struggling with long-term impacts of Covid-19. And she says it helped her in a final push to return to her beloved job.

The charity introduced its Covid Recovery Programme last year, which now runs across its three residential centres and includes a five-day residential stay with a holistic programme created for each individual, along with a series of group sessions with others who have experienced the impacts of Covid-19.

Sarah, who is based in Croydon and attended the programme in December, says: “I was very ill with Covid-19 at first. I couldn’t eat for days and I couldn’t get out of bed for over a week. I’d be in and out of consciousness throughout the day and then when I was able to get out of bed, I found when I came downstairs to try and make a cup of tea, I was so breathless – it was like my lungs were the size of walnuts.”

This later developed into Long Covid, to the point Sarah was unable to walk more than a short distance for months on end. She adds: “The Fire Fighters Charity primarily taught me to pace myself. It really helped me build my confidence… I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work if I didn’t reach out to the charity. I just don’t think I’d have had the confidence in myself to be able to deal with going back.”

Sarah was able to return to work part-time in February, just over a year after first testing positive, and will now build up from light duties.

Sharon Bailey, The Fire Fighters Charity’s Director of Beneficiary Services, said: “We launched our Covid Recovery Programme after seeing a sharp increase in the number of our beneficiaries struggling with long-term symptoms associated with Covid-19 – and it’s been really successful ever since.

You can read Sarah’s full story at:

Work underway on new training centre in Horsham

The construction of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s new multi-million-pound fire station and training centre is underwayWest Sussex County Council’s appointed contractor, Willmott Dixon, began work at the site in Horsham last November. Big changes have already been made at the site off the A24 at Highwood Mill, with the foundations being laid and the steel structures starting to be put in place.

Representatives from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and West Sussex County Council have visited the site to see the progress first-hand.

Speaking of his visit, Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Communities and Fire and Rescue, said: “I am thrilled to see this project taking shape and steady progress being made. At this stage of the development, you can really start to visualise what the final facility will look like, and I am confident that this asset is going to be hugely beneficial for the fire service and subsequently the residents of West Sussex.”

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, added: “The state-of-the-art facilities at our new training centre and fire station represent a significant investment in our service, putting the continued development of our staff front and centre. At the core of the new training centre will be a number of realistic training environments, allowing our staff the opportunity to train and develop their skills to ensure they are fully prepared for the challenging environments they are likely to encounter during the course of their duty.

“This means that they are not only able to keep themselves safe, but also the residents in our communities that we are responsible for keeping safe from harm. I feel immensely proud to be Chief Fire Officer at such an exciting time for the service, and this project signifies a real improvement and modernisation in the way in which we work.”

The training centre will be the first of its type in the county and will allow firefighters to train in a wide range of realistic scenarios, such as live fire conditions, working from height and road traffic collisions. This will further enhance the skills and professionalism of our staff enabling them to continue serving the residents and communities of West Sussex.

State of the art fire engines set to serve Cumbria

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service reports on introducing six new fire engines to its fleet of vehicles to serve the communities of Cumbria

Cumbria County Council’s £1.5 million investment into Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s fleet and equipment will benefit and enhance the service’s emergency response to Cumbrian communities through improvement of technology, modern equipment and the safety of firefighters.

Cumbria FRS is committed to providing the best possible vehicles and equipment to enable firefighters to respond effectively and efficiently to emergency incidents within Cumbria. The six new vehicles will be placed at Carlisle East, Ulverston, Whitehaven, Windermere, Appleby, and Walney Fire Stations.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer John Beard said: “Ensuring the safety of our crews and the communities we serve is our upmost priority, which is why these new fire engines have been designed with the direct involvement of our firefighters. A lot of hard work has gone into making sure that these new models will enable our crews to work safely and effectively both now and in the future, so that we can continue to provide a first-class emergency response for years to come within Cumbria.”

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue Cllr Janet Willis said: “I am delighted to officially see the latest additions to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s fleet. It gives me immense pride to be investing in the latest fire and rescue equipment. The new fire engines offer a wide range of improvements and better equip our firefighters to serve the people of Cumbria.”

Each of the new fire engines has been branded featuring different messages:

  • Water safety – It is important to educate the whole community about the risk open water poses if you are not a trained professional with the correct equipment. Cumbria FRS want people to enjoy the water safely and are fully committed to preventing drowning incidents from happening in the first place.
  • Road safety – It is vital all motorists drive safely and ensure their vehicles are road worthy to help prevent accidents. Lives are still being destroyed by the failure of drivers to be responsible behind the wheel before and during their travels.
  • Home fire safety – Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save lives, but only if they are working. The service aims to raise awareness on the importance of people having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their home.
  • Wildfires – Wildfires are becoming much more common across the UK and in Cumbria and cause devasting damage to wildlife, agriculture, environment and properties. Help protect our rural areas in Cumbria from wildfires.
  • Pride – Having a fire engine wrapped with this design shows Cumbria FRS’s commitment to engaging with and supporting their local communities and being an inclusive organisation.
  • Hate crime – Cumbria FRS continue to raise awareness of issues surrounding violence and hate crime and its impact on the communities it serves and the organisation.

Cumbria FRS hope that this will create awareness around the county.

Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Nathaniel Hooton, said: “Our appliances provide a fantastic presence in our communities, and we have decided to use this to help spread some important messages. We want to engage with everyone in our communities, and this is another way of doing that. I hope people will keep an eye out for their local fire engine and see what messages it is displaying.”