Image demonstrating Fire Service response to HMICFRS inspection

Fire Service response to HMICFRS inspection

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is taking positive action following the findings of a recent HMICFRS report to address areas identified for improvement.

The report found that the fire service was good at responding to national risks, and accepted that one of the biggest challenges for the fire service is managing an operational response across a large, sparsely populated county, with 3,404 incidents responded to over the inspection period of 12 months (to end September 2018).

Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hedley added: “Since the inspection team visited us in autumn last year, we were keen to make an early start on feedback received, and we’ve worked hard to take positive action to address the issues, with many areas well underway.

“We’ve made significant improvements to engage and communicate with our residents to keep them safe, as well as recruitment campaigns for both full-time and retained firefighters.”

“I’m confident the plans we’re putting in place, alongside the great work of our valued workforce, will enable the fire service to build on its strengths, and make the necessary improvements in a swift and efficient manner.

“We’re keen to work collaboratively with the inspectorate and other fire services to address the issues and turn things around.

“Fundamentally, protecting the public and preventing fires is at the heart of everything we do, and will remain so.”

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service operates as part of Northumberland County Council and has 15 community fire stations (excluding Holy Island garage) delivering services 365 days of the year.

”Cllr Nick Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, and Cabinet Secretary said: “Whilst the report findings are disappointing, we are actively working to address the areas for improvement set out following the inspection to put things right.

Whilst we accept the findings of the report, we are committed to investing in the future of our fire service and the dedicated firefighters who serve our county.

“Our residents safety is our number one priority, and a strategic priority for the council, and I’d like to reassure all of the communities we serve that we will always and are able to respond quickly.”

The fire service were commended on their role in Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Principles (JESIP), taking the lead in training other agencies including the police, ambulance service and mountain rescue.

Following the inspection, a review of the Fire and Rescue Plan (Integrated Risk Management Plan) has already taken place, and the public will be asked for their views over the coming months.

The HMICFRS report was published on 20 June 2019 and rated Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service as ‘requires improvement’.

You can read the report here.
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