PROGRESS is being made in improvements to Warwickshire’s Fire Service following a critical report, the service has told the County Council.
Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) Cabinet has endorsed a plan of action to address issues raised in a report into Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The report, published in September, said ‘high-risk’ residential buildings had still not been inspected two years after concerns were first raised,
adding WFRS ‘urgently’ needed to improve the effectiveness of its fire safety regulation, and grading the service’s performance as ‘requires improvement’ in seven areas and ‘adequate’ in four.
WFRS’ report to WCC’s Cabinet said all high-risk residential buildings had been inspected, a regular schedule of inspections had been implemented, and fire safety audits of high-risk business premises had nearly quadrupled in the last year.
The service said projects had been established to make the best use of its resources, broader use of IT among staff would increase productivity, and operational staff had all the equipment they needed when attending an incident.
WFRS added progress had been made in community risk management, and ‘great strides’ had been made towards increasing inclusion and diversity within the service.
WCC’s Fire and Rescue spokesman Coun Andy Crump said: “Cabinet is pleased to see the response to the findings of HMICFRS. It clearly illustrates the tremendous progress that has been made in a very short time.
“But there is more to do, and it will take further time to reach the standards that WFRS is striving for to ensure we remain fit not only for the present but well into the future.”
Visit https://tinyurl.com/4r8m5vek to hear a Let’s Talk Warwickshire podcast in which Chief Fire Officer Ben Brook discuss the findings of HMICFRS and WFRS’ response to the report.
WFRS is consulting the public on plans to improve the availability of its fire engines.
The proposed new ‘resource model’ aims to allow the service to move its engines more effectively around the county.
Currently, more fire engines are available at night when activity levels are lowest, and fewer are available in the day when demand is greater.
The new model aims to improve response times by increasing availability across the county – particularly from 8am to 10pm when demand is highest.
The proposals do not include plans to close any of the county’s fire stations.
Coun Crump said: “This plan will make Warwickshire safer, because we’ll have the right level of resource in the right place at the right time. Changing times mean that we also have to change in order to keep Warwickshire safe.”
The public consultation is planned to begin in December and run for three months.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fireandrescue for more information about WFRS.