It’s a pleasure to be back writing my FIRE magazine column and I hope you all had a happy festive period. I know many of you were working over Christmas to keep us safe instead of celebrating with your own families, and I thank you for that.

At the beginning of a new year, I find it helpful to reflect on the previous 12 months. It hasn’t been the easiest time for the fire and rescue sector. Last summer’s unprecedented heatwaves posed a huge challenge across the country, while recent news headlines about culture and misogyny made grave reading. The ongoing pay dispute and threats of industrial action have deeply affected many firefighters and staff.

Last month, I published my first State of Fire and Rescue report since taking up my role. We also published 16 regional reports into individual services – the final batch of reports in our second round of annual inspections.

As I said in my report, since joining the inspectorate I have been struck by the dedication of services and their staff. You are committed to keeping the public safe. It is clear what enormous assets you are to our communities.


Read the full article on our digital issue, page 9.

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