EFE Awards logo 2015 TNIn this blog from the November edition of FIRE, digital editor Richard Hook reflects on the successful completion of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme and the inaugural Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards, and predicts how both can have even greater on-going legacy:
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The Fire and Rescue Service has never been one for standing still. The past decade alone has seen the Independent Review of the Fire Service published, the Fire and Rescue Services Act, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and Sir Ken Knight’s review (with a further one from Adrian Thomas due in 2015) and projects such as New Dimension, FireLink, and FiReControl coming, and often going.

So when new projects, like JESIP, and new events, like the EFEs, are launched it can be with a degree of scepticism as to how much impact they will have and how long they will be around for.

As regional lead for Dorset, Paul Brown tells us in our JESIP case study on pages 53-55: “The way commanders have worked has been built up over decades so for JESIP to translate into real practice they need tackling”. If you take buy-in on the ground and breaking-down cultural barriers as a good measure of a new initiative’s success then our feature, ‘JESIP – the story so far’ (pages 49-52), shows that the programme has definitely made great strides so far.

Ahead of transition into the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles from October 1, the programme had trained more than 10,000 emergency services commanders but, arguably more importantly, seen a further 10,000 access JESIP training products on their own backs.

JESIP’s true long-lasting success will only be measureable when its principles and products have been embraced by all operational staff across the emergency services and in other responder organisations, and progress towards that aim will require continued strong management and maintained momentum to ensure it doesn’t become ‘just another tickbox’. But in terms of being an evolution that is still being positively talked about next decade, then JESIP is off to a good start.

It is pleasing to be able to say that our own Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards are also off to a good start in terms of providing the sector with something new and useful. The awards event on 17 October was very well supported, as you can see in our picture gallery on pages 30-31, and were a true celebration of innovative working practices, initiatives, partnerships and technology in the fire and emergency services.

While there are many other valuable awards across the sector – from national ones like the 999 Awards to charity focused like the Spirit of Fire Awards, to operational ones like the National BA Championships (see page 5) and local ones – the EFEs were the first to bring together suppliers, services and the wider fire sector together to acknowledge the importance of cross-sector collaboration.

We would like to congratulate our inaugural winners (as revealed on pages 32-35) and hope they stand as a marker of the continued importance of innovation and evolution within the Service as external pressures for change are never far away.