Chiefs support Every Mind Matters campaign

The National Fire Chiefs Council has committed to supporting a new campaign launched last month and running until the end of March next year


The Every Mind Matters campaign encourages people to take action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting self-care actions to tackle common problems and signposting to wider resources and services for those in greater need.

The campaign will integrate into and sit alongside other expert initiatives from a range of organisations such as Mind, Samaritans and Time to Change. The campaign compliments the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework.

It tackles a wide range of issues from low mood to information on trauma and advice for people who are supporting others with any mental health issues.

The campaign has an online web tool called Your Mind Plan which allows people to take a short test and get top tips for their own good mental health. You can create your plan on the Every Mind Matters website. Just answer five questions about your mental wellbeing for practical actions and advice to help you.

NFCC Mental Health Lead, Mark Matthews, is leading on this work as part of the Strategic Health group which sits under NFCC’s Prevention Committee.

NFCC has committed to working with partners in mental health services, such as Public Health England, to promote the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health which is underpinned by an understanding that taking a prevention-focussed approach to improving the public’s mental health is shown to make a valuable contribution to achieving a fairer and more equitable society. The work will also look to develop FRS understanding of mental health and how it impacts on increased fire risk.

Mark Matthews commented: “Everyone deserves good mental health and NFCC hope through our support of Every Mind Matters we empower people to not only look after their own mental health but to be better able to support those around them.”

The Concordat is intended to provide a focus for cross-sector action including FRS to deliver a tangible increase in the adoption of public mental health approaches across local authorities, the NHS, public, private and VCSE sector organisations, educational settings and employers. It acknowledges the active role played by people with lived experience of mental health problems, individually and through user-led organisations.

European association publishes its priorities and challenges

Euralarm, the association representing the fire safety and security industry, reports on its priorities and challenges 2019-2024

Working together for a safer and more secure future is the name of the document that describes areas of cooperation to achieve a safer and more secure society for Europe and build an industry that contributes to sustainable growth in Europe.

One of the most basic requirements for each of us is defence against harm, no matter what form it takes. Without protective measures, the individuals that make up society are at risk. For decades the fire safety and security industry has worked diligently to develop solutions to prevent and limit the consequences from threats such as fire, theft, property damage and others. In collaboration with public authorities, policy makers, standards and certification bodies and industry associations, the industry works to address society’s needs for safety and security in Europe and globally.

By working together, Euralarm believes to achieve a safer and more secure society for Europe and build an industry that contributes to sustainable growth in Europe.

Fire service launches staff exhibition to mark Black History Month

An exhibition that pays homage to, and highlights, the diverse heritage of fire service staff has been unveiled in Sheffield

The showcase has been organised by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue as part of Black History Month and celebrates the achievements of staff with African and Caribbean heritage.

It features portrait photographs of 11 employees past and present – ranging from retired firefighters to support staff – that will be exhibited at various locations across Sheffield.

Locations include the Winter Gardens, Moor Market and Sheffield Train Station, with the service hoping the display will inspire the next generation of firefighters.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our staff, and their rich heritage, and wanted to do something special to celebrate their contributions to the service and those we serve,” said Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson. “We also wanted to show support to the Black History Month initiative and South Yorkshire’s black communities, at the same time as showing that anyone can be anything in the fire service – regardless of their background.

“The exhibition is about recognising staff of the past and present and inspiring the next generation of firefighters, as we strive to ensure our workforce fully reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.”

The photos have been taken by Orestes Rix, a member of the service’s finance team who specialises in portrait photography outside of his day job.

They have been printed onto foam boards and will be showcased on easels as they travel round the city. Their first outing will be at a launch event hosted at the Showroom Workstation, on Paternoster Row.

One of the staff members featured is Elm Lane Station Manager, Delroy Galloway, who has helped organise the exhibition as well as being photographed.

He said: “Over the last few years we’ve done some amazing work around supporting underrepresented groups within the fire service, so it’s really good to be able to carry that work on and get behind Black History Month in a meaningful way.

“People with African and Caribbean backgrounds are currently underrepresented within the Fire Service nationally. We aim to change that through projects such as this one, as well as shine a light on some very deserving colleagues.”

Thousands of hours of joint training delivered to 100s of police and fire staff

Hundreds of police and fire staff have benefitted from more than 1,500 hours joint training, as collaboration between the two emergency services in South Yorkshire gathers pace

South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue say more than 500 of their staff have taken part in shared courses from driver to first aid training – helping to save taxpayers thousands in the process.

The organisations now use each other’s premises to host training for their respective staff- including at the fire service’s development hub in Handsworth, Sheffield and the police training suite at Robert Dyson House in Rotherham.

Minibus, LGV driver, water rescue and health and safety training are amongst the specific courses delivered by fire service training instructors to police staff.

Police trainers have provided conflict management training and first aid courses to fire staff in return.

Managers from both organisations now routinely observe each other’s training exercises in a bid to improve understanding of responses to major incidents.

Fire officers have also benefitted from police-led ‘joint decision making’ training, which improves the way managers make fast decisions at emergency incidents.

Managers say joint approaches to training like this saves cash because it means organisations do not have to needlessly buy in courses from specialist providers.

Group Manager for operational training at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Matt Walker, said: “Since signing a joint collaboration agreement last year, we have been working closely with South Yorkshire Police to develop new ways of working together. This has focused heavily on sharing best practice and looking at how we can build on and develop existing and future activities to improve the way we operate.

“Not only does collaborating on training like this save both services and the public money, but it also ensures we are delivering the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire.”

Claire Hayle, Head of Learning and Development at South Yorkshire Police, added: “South Yorkshire Police recognise the collective benefits that can be achieved through closer working with emergency service partners.

“We are delighted to be able to deliver joint training to operational and support departments within both organisations, in turn gaining a greater understanding of each other’s organisations, saving public money and improving our services.”

New report calls for major change in approach to pre-hospital burn care

Saving Lives is Not Enough is a casualty-centred proposal identifying how fire and rescue services can improve pre-hospital care and quality of life outcomes for burn survivors

A new report calling for major changes in the way in which the emergency services handle pre-hospital burn care has been launched. Co-authors of the report, Saving Lives is Not Enough – David Wales, International Research Lead for the National Fire Chiefs Council and Kristina Stiles, Head of Clinical Services, The Katie Piper Foundation – presented their recommendations to an audience of emergency responders in the Lessons Learnt seminar theatre at the Emergency Services Show.

The Saving Lives is Not Enough report identifies that 999 call handlers and firefighters are ideally placed to play a crucial part in the early management of burn-injured casualties and sets out ten recommendations for improving their pre-hospital care, experience and outcomes.

David Wales explained: “The Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) has a long and proud tradition of saving lives from the risk of harm posed by fire. Traditionally, its role has been to remove casualties from a fire scene and then, as soon as possible, hand them over to the Ambulance Service or other first responders to administer medical care whilst FRS resources return to firefighting in order to limit property damage.

“This is clearly an essential and valuable contribution but, arguably, has encouraged greater attention on property rather than people, whereas the opposite approach is taken to road traffic collisions. It could also be considered as a narrow interpretation of what ‘saving lives’ means, in that it does not fully recognise potential long-term risks and consequences.”

Kristina Stiles said that the report aimed to build a complete end-to-end picture of the burn survivor experience and enhance collaboration between all agencies involved: “The burn survivor’s journey begins at the time of injury. Each service, each point of contact, each intervention leaves a trace on the burn survivor that will only become evident hours, days or even months later. Each action and inaction have the potential to make a difference and will directly impact burn survivor’s outcome and quality of life.

“Survival following burn injury has significantly improved, particularly in first world regions like the UK, and it is timely that attention needs to turn outwards to focus on quality of life outcomes following survival. For many years the business sector has understood the importance of ‘customer experience’. Co-design approaches originated from the business world are now finding their way into all walks of life, including health. Stakeholder groups responsible for the care of the burn injured at various stages of their journey are called upon to join together to share knowledge, overcome barriers that affect the movement of knowledge across and between professional groups, and innovate.”

Recommendations in the report focus on the following elements:

  1. Use the 999 call to manage casualties during the pre-attendance period
  2. Use an evidence-based model to improve search and rescue tactics
  3. Develop the ability to protect casualties from first contact
  4. Recognise that age matters
  5. Assess the benefit of fully cooling burns prior to removal from fire ground
  6. Develop a water strategy for the optimal cooling of burns
  7. Attend burn and scald only incidents to provide first aid
  8. Communicate circumstances of burn injury to clinical care providers
  9. Assess the influence of FRS actions and terminology on psychosocial recovery
  10. Introduce a customer reported experience and outcome framework

The full report can be downloaded at

Website for the Fire Standards Board England goes live

Information about the new Fire Standards Board for England and its work to date are available on the newly launched website:

Consistency, learning from incidents and developing fit-for-purpose professional standards is the core purpose of the Fire Standards Board which was formed earlier this year.


Suzanne McCarthy, Chair of the Fire Standards Body for England

 The Board will be responsible for development of a high-quality, useable framework of professional standards focussed on achieving positive outcomes and driving continuous improvement. The standards will be aligned to the work of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and its national improvement programmes. Once developed, the Board will be responsible for the regular review of those standards.

The independent Chair of the Board is Suzanne McCarthy. She is a qualified lawyer and experienced non-executive director whose roles currently include working with the Valuation Tribunal Service and the London Mayor’s Office on Policing and Crime.

Alison Sansome is the independent Vice Chair. Alison brings non-executive experience from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Office of the Public Guardian, as well as an extensive career spanning the civil service, technology industry and health sector.

Other Board members include representatives from the Home Office, NFCC, the Local Government Association, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. The Board will be supported by the NFCC’s Central Programme Office.

Fire and rescue services in the devolved administrations operate against their own standards and inspection frameworks. However, they will be encouraged to engage in the standards development process, with the option of adopting all – or part of the professional standards – developed through the Board.

Representative bodies and a range of other stakeholders will be included in the development of standards through various means but formerly through the NFCC Strategic Engagement Forum.

The Board has now met three times. Terms of reference are agreed; a standards development process and the component parts of a Standard have also been agreed in principle. These will be tested via a pilot process which is now underway and will lead to the first Standard being proposed for approval in early 2020.

The Board is now conducting a wider scoping and prioritisation exercise to map out the complete framework of Standards and to plan a Standards development programme. Updates on their work will be available in the news section of the website.

New video series covers all the fire door safety basics

A series of short video interviews with fire door safety expert Hannah Mansell have been launched giving advice on each stage of the process to anyone buying or specifying fire doors, including architects, contractors and clients


Brief interviews cover topics such as the role of fire doors in building and life safety, the crucial difference between ‘doors’ and ‘doorsets’, the manufacturing standards that customers should expect and the importance of the fire door testing and certification regime. Hannah also gives tips on installation and maintenance of fire doors, as well as her personal views on innovation, the residents’ voice and the future of fire safety in the UK.

Hannah is Group Technical Director at Masonite UK, a leading door manufacturer serving both the residential and architectural markets. She is also chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children’s Burns Trust.

Hannah says: “Fire safety is never far from the headlines at the moment, and the role of fire doors in protecting life and property keeps coming up as a major issue. Fire doors are a critical safety device, engineered as a system to protect building users and the emergency services too.

“However, the current official guidance on fire doors is still not as clear as it could be. So I think it is incredibly important for specifiers, contractors and everyone involved in building safety to build a close working relationship with their fire door manufacturer, and to make the most of the technical expertise we can offer.”

Hannah joined Masonite earlier this year after five years as technical manager at the British Woodworking Federation. She has had a major influence on technical and safety policy throughout her 20-year career in the doors and joinery industry.

Students join emergency services in simulated terrorism training incident

Nursing students have taken part in a staged firearms training event designed to give doctors and paramedics a taste of working in a mass casualty terrorist incident

Northumbria University worked in partnership with the Great North Air Ambulance Service and Northumbria Police on the simulated learning experience, which was being run for clinicians from around the country as part of an annual training course.

Six paramedics and six doctors took part in the live training event, which featured dozens of casualties displaying signs of blast and gunshot injuries. They had been ‘injured’ in the simulated terrorist incident and had been given realistic, bleeding wounds requiring treatment. The patients were all played by students from the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health who had volunteered for the experience.

The training session was held at Northumbria Police’s Operational Tactical Training Centre in Gateshead. Several officers from the force took part in the scenario, using firearms and explosives to add to the realism.

Jamie Walsh, training manager at Great North Air Ambulance Service, is part of the team behind the charity’s Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Crew Course, which gives participants an understanding of what this type of incident may be like in real life. “We are looking at the triage aspect: when they should be doing care and where they should be doing it and also prioritising which patient requires treatment first,” he explained.

“It’s not just the critical care they are learning but how to communicate in these very stressful and pressured situations. It’s a really interesting scenario and something which they’ll have never done before.”

Mr Walsh said the day would not have been possible without the support of both Northumbria Police and Northumbria University, with the latter sending 30 pre-registration nursing students to take part in the exercise as part of their studies.

Daniel Monk, senior lecturer and a specialist in urgent care in Northumbria’s Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: “Northumbria University has been working productively with both Northumbria Police and the Great North Air Ambulance Service for some time, collaborating on a number of high-quality research and teaching projects. This includes this world-class course, where exposure to complex, simulated pre-hospital clinical scenarios significantly enhances the learning of pre-hospital specialists.

“Our involvement in this simulation event provided our nursing students with the unique opportunity to participate in the real-time simulation of a mass-casualty incident.

“They saw first-hand how experienced pre-hospital specialists would prioritise, assess, manage and coordinate casualties at the front-line of an incident of this scale in an urban environment. This immersive experience allows them to develop their acute patient assessment knowledge and skills.

“It is part of our continuing work to ensure that our students learn from realistic scenarios to prepare them for the challenges they may face in their professional careers.”

Third-year adult nursing student Rachel Wright said the session was unlike anything she had experienced before and would help her to become a better nurse. “It’s high intensity and a really difficult and emotional subject,” she said. “It was great to see and feel it from the other side and see what people were going through so you can help people and communicate with them.”

Acting Inspector Nigel Bennett, from Northumbria Police’s Firearms Support Unit, added that it was great to be able to work alongside partners to train and share best practice. “It enables us to carry out detailed and realistic training exercises that help continue to develop those skills and knowledge that are so vital to our role,” he said.

“It benefits all involved which helps us ensure officers and staff from all organisations are best prepared to handle potential real-life scenarios. We look forward to continuing working together to best prepare and protect the public we serve.”

United Kingdom Firefighters Sailing Challenge 2020 announced

UKFSC 2020 will take place from May 11-14. Organisers have announced that racing will take place in the Solent on the UK’s south coast, with onshore activities at Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth and Cowes Yacht Haven on the Isle of Wight

This will be the 17th time the annual yacht racing challenge has been run and the UKFSC Committee has been busy since the last event in May, making arrangements to ensure it will be the biggest and best ever.

UKFSC is a firefighter charitable event which uses the fun and competition of yacht racing to raise money for charity. Thanks to the support of sponsors and the efforts of competitors and their friends and families, charitable donations from UKFSC are now at over £115,000.

Last year saw a dramatic increase in interest from competitors and sponsors and made for the biggest and most successful event to date. Entries were up, with 32 yachts racing and over 300 competitors with crews competing from the fire, police and ambulance services, RNLI and sponsors.

To avoid logistical difficulties in chartering yachts and finding suitable venues for the onshore activities, we have decided to limit the event to 35 yachts for 2020.

UKFSC 2020 will again make use of two different classes of yachts. Sunsail are in the process of changing their fleet; this will take two seasons to complete and so for 2020 we will have 15 of their brand new Jeanneau 41.0’s for our Spinnaker Class and we will have 20 of the Oceanis’ 37’s from Fairview for the White Sails Class.

The new Sunsaill Jeanneau 41.0’s crew a maximum of ten and sleep nine. The Fairview Oceanis 37’s crew eight and sleep eight. Yacht charter and event entry costs for both types of yacht have been kept below £2500.

Due to unprecedented early demand for yachts for this year’s event, we are introducing a change to the entry system and UKFSC will take on the whole booking and event entry process from now on. Bookings will be taken on a first come first served basis and spinnaker entries from 2019 will have priority for Sunsail 41.0’s for 2020.

Securing a yacht will be on the basis of a non-refundable deposit, and strict deadlines for 50 per cent of the payment by January 31, with final payment by March 31, 2020. All entries must be made via the online entry system on the UKFSC website.

For more information visit: Twitter: @ukfiresailing Facebook: United Kingdom Firefighters Sailing Challenge.