A year on from the launch of Warwickshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Services Improvement Plan, Chief Fire Officer Graeme Smith says there have been key successes for the service.

In July 2010, Warwickshire County Council's Fire Authority gave its approval to move forward with the Improvement Plan. Over the last year the service has achieved a number of key milestones. These include:

  • A 78% reduction in attendance to automatic fire alarms (AFA policy)
  • Accidental dwelling fires have reduced by 15% in the last year
  • Increased targeted home fire safety checks
  • Investing in the very latest fire kit to increase the safety of firefighters
  • Developing a new reach and rescue pole to increase water rescue capability
  • Increasing firefighter training - providing an improved range of training at the national Fire Service College
  • Increasing occupational health services to ensure firefighters are available more of the time.

CFO Graeme Smith said: "The last year has been a real challenge, we set out to deliver one of the biggest changes the service has seen for over 50 years and I am proud to say that we are already delivering improvements in key areas which help to make our communities safer.

"This includes using pro-active monitoring to target those homes most at risk and reducing the number of automatic fire alarm calls we attend. By successfully reducing our attendance to AFAs by a staggering 78%, we are now reviewing the way we now work to ensure that we have the right resources in the right place at the right time for life risk incidents.

"Our firefighters also have more time to plan in training activities, which was previously taken up by attending false alarm calls.

"Whilst a lot of good work has been done, we are not complacent and we are committed to delivering the next steps of the Improvement Plan. This includes releasing capacity from decommissioning three retained fire stations, Warwick, Brinklow and Studley, converting the retained station in Alcester to a wholetime station and investing in a small fires unit and a specialist vehicle rescue unit by March 2012.

"We are also currently exploring potential sites for new operational command and training centres and the re-location of Leamington Fire Station."

The first two stations to be decommissioned are Warwick and Brinklow with operational response planned to cease at the end of August 2011.

Graeme continued: "Like most fire and rescue services, we are facing some significant challenges and we have had to take a number of tough decisions.

"As a service we have come a long way and I hope that this will continue as we move forward to ensure that we provide a fitter, stronger, fire and rescue service."


Posted August 23rd, 2011 at 1125 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com