The Fire Brigades Union welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s 2010/11 Action plan.
As an organization, the Fire Brigades Union has been at the vanguard of the move to risk based fire cover and remain convinced that this is the correct way to allocate limited resources. The Fire Brigades Union has a number of difficulties in fully signing up to the proposed current plan.
The overall plan fails to illustrate a clear route to improved public and Firefighter safety in Berkshire which has been one of the key principles behind the FBU’s position.
The union has previously demonstrated real concern at the momentum that the route to improved public and firefighter safety is being compromised through the drive to make budgetary savings and political statements. This concern has now been confirmed by the worsening in performance by RBFRS since the introduction of the IRMP process.
Despite representations to Senior Management expressing our concerns over direction the Brigade is taking with its ever changing ad-hoc priorities, these have been, by and large, ignored and dismissed.
The Brigade continues to make changes which are detrimental to the community we serve and the firefighters that we represent. These changes are made outside the IRMP process but have a significant impact on the Fire Authorities ability to deliver its strategic aims. The Action Plan does not acknowledge or take into account these detrimental changes.
Principles that have been agreed by all parties; the authority, the union and the management are not being implemented as consulted and/or agreed. There is no coherency in the IRMP’s application.
The union therefore urges the Fire Authority to reiterate its commitment to IRMP being the vehicle for improved public and Firefighter safety and then actively ensure that is what is being delivered.
The union ask the Fire Authority for evidence that the changes to the proposed PDA’s to RTC’s have been through the IRMP process and to demonstrate the positive impact of the changes on community safety, Firefighter safety and the continued provision of fire cover. We also ask you to evidence such changes in the Action Plan.
The union ask the Fire Authority for evidence that the continued proposed changes to the night cover at Windsor demonstrate a positive impact on community safety, Firefighter safety and the continued provision of fire cover. We also ask you to evidence such changes in the Action Plan.
The union sees no evidence in the Action Plan in the systematic planning to have the correct resources and structuring for other areas of activity such as, rescues, flooding and new dimension.
In spite of the fact that the IRMP process is supposed to provide local solutions to local problems, RBFRS will in the future be relying more heavily on external assistance.
We have seen direct and indirect manipulation of IRMP’s within other fire and Rescue services and we are now seeing projects being implemented outside this process which have a major impact on the overall outcomes of the IRMP plan. . The FBU suggests that RBFA asks the service management to pull all projects that are under the IRMP umbrella into the IRMP process. The community of Royal Berkshire and its Firefighters expects honest and integrity from its fire and rescue management.
WHAT IS INTEGRATED RISK MANAGEMENT PLANNING (IRMP)?
- IRMP is a process by which a fire and rescue service can devise appropriate responses to local requirements based on risk.
- The emphasis is to save life.
- Used properly it is possible to make our community safer.
- Used incorrectly it will cost lives!
Integrated Risk Management means integrating prevention, protection and intervention strategies in order to reduce the risk to the public and firefighters.
- Prevention – stop fires before they start and as far as possible prevent other emergencies from occurring. Education is the key – for fire prevention a Home Fire Risk Assessment can be carried out to assist the public.
- Protection - in buildings covered by Fire Safety Legislation – stop fires before they start, give early warning of fire through automatic fire detection equipment, and limit fire spread through building design and building management so that people can get out safely if a fire does start. In residential premises including dwellings – give early warning of fires if they do start (e.g. smoke detectors), limit fire spread (sprinklers) coupled with Fire Escape Plans (what to do if a fire starts in your home to maximise your chances of escape/rescue).
- Intervention - have the correct level of emergency resources (firefighters/ emergency fire control operators / fire engines etc.) available to deal with fires and other emergencies when they do occur.
Effective Community Risk Management requires robust balance of Prevention, Protection and Intervention strategies in order that the maximum number of lives can be saved, and injuries and property loss significantly reduced.
The truly integrated risk management plan will aim to improve standards in all areas of service activity not just attendance times to private dwellings and road traffic accidents. RBFRS is not delivering on its original commitments.
RBFRS DRIVERS FOR CHANGE
RBFRS clearly stated when presenting the 5 year IRMP plan that the main drivers for change were: ‘Fewer fire and special service deaths and injuries through the provision of safe and effective delivery of services including emergency response, community safety, and legislative fire safety activities’.
RBFRS went on to state that in order to achieve the above drivers for change, RBFRS has to get the RIGHT RESOURCES, AT THE RIGHT TIME, IN THE RIGHT PLACE.
In order to achieve the above, RBFRS and RBFA took the decision that all its planning ethos would be based on “Doing more with the same amount of money’, yet we see an increase in appliances being crewed with 4 riders, an increase in attendance times, an increase in fire deaths and an increase in the deterioration of the service we provide the community we are here to serve and protect.
The Fire Brigades Union agreed (and continues to agree) with the principles and aims of RBFRS IRMP but not necessarily its outcomes. However, since the implementation of the 5 year IRMP plan (2007 – 12) the Fire Brigades Union has had real concerns on how the plan is being implemented or, more to the point, how its not being implemented.
The Action Plan being consulted on clearly demonstrates that the Brigade has lost its focus on the original plan and many of the concerns expressed and presented to the Fire Authority in July 2007 have come to fruition.
The current IRMP is not delivering the original objectives of getting the right resources, at the right time, in the right place. Furthermore, should the Authority introduced the revised PDA’s to RTC’s, these objectives will be further eroded.
THE INTERVENTION WINDOW
Throughout the discussion of IRMP there is one central factor – the intervention window – and how it impacts on the chances of survival.
It is vital to understand this concept (illustrated below)
THE CORRECT APPROACH
It is important to avoid falling into the trap of viewing Integrated Risk Management Plans as no more than resource management strategies, with resources being switched from one area of activity to another, or resources being cut to save money.
Before any changes are implemented in the area of intervention as a result of proposals to alter activity in the areas of prevention and/or protection, the outcomes of such additional activity must clearly demonstrate proven and sustainable long-term improvements in both Firefighter safety and the safety of the communities that we serve.
To date, RBFRS has failed to demonstrate those improvements and analyses of its own performance indicators demonstrate that performance has deteriorated.
Home Fire Risk Checks have been the main vehicle to drive down the risk in the home but RBFRS cannot quantify if this drive has been successful or has had an impact on risk reduction. It should be noted that these HFRC’s are not delivered as communicated in the original IRMP, i.e. priority to be given to the outlying areas where RBFRS is not able to meet its attendance times.
The holistic approach to reducing fire deaths includes prevention measures such as education, identifying high risks and formulating a strategy to target these. Combined with protection measures which can assist in increasing the use of smoke detectors, sprinklers and emergency escape plans.
These however can only be effective when combined with properly resourced fire controls and fully crewed fire appliances that are available to react quickly and effectively.
FBU CONSIDERED RESPONSE TO THE ACTION PLAN 2010/11
Page 1 Executive Summary
Para 2 – Work will continue to reduce risk in local communities, the emphasis being on higher risk incidents where people are more likely to be killed or injured. The risk analysis shows this to be dwelling fires and road traffic collisions.
FBU – The current proposals on the change to how RBFRS (which is not evidenced in the IRMP plan nor the Action Plan) responds to Road Traffic Collisions will increase the risk of injury, death and losses to property and the economy.
Para 5 – Over the next five years a comprehensive review will be undertaken to confirm emergency resources are located in the optimum location to assist the community when required.
FBU – This being the case why does RBFRS continue with its proposal to close Windsor fire station at night time? It would be prudent to await the outcome of such comprehensive review
Page 1 Chairman’s Foreword
Para 2 – The proposals contained within this five year plan will continue the initiatives to improve the service to everyone living, working and travelling in Berkshire. The proposals should be seen as a complete package of measures to improve the level of service across the whole of the Brigade area.
FBU – The FBU concurs with the Chairman however we have evidence that the proposed changes outside the IRMP process which the community have not been consulted on will have a detrimental effect on the Chaiman’s vision.
Page 2 Integrated Risk Management Planning and How It Is Applied Across Berkshire
Para 2 – he Brigade has 19 fire stations located across the Berkshire area. The fire stations are staffed either by full time or part time staff. The part time stations are not permanently crewed, with staff responding to incidents from their places of work or their homes.
FBU – It should be indicated that Wokingham is only crewed during the day hours and no longer has Retained cover at night. Additionally, the fact that Cookham has now for all intent and purposes closed should also be communicated
Para 5 – The Brigade prefers the prevention strategy as opposed to response as this effectively means there is no loss of life or injuries and no damage to property.
FBU – The FBU supports the spirit of this statement however we do not support the implication that prevention means that no loss of life, injuries or damage to property will occur. Response is a crucial and vital part in ensuring compliance with the spirit of the statement.
Page 6 (continued)
Para 3 - Each Fire and Rescue Authority must produce a publicly available Plan covering at least a three-year time-span which:
- Is regularly reviewed and revised and reflects up to date risk information and evaluation of service delivery outcomes;
- Has regard to the risk analyses completed by Local and Regional Resilience Forums including those reported in external Community Risk Registers and internal risk registers, to ensure that civil and terrorist contingencies are captured in their Plan;
- Reflects effective consultation during its development and at all review stages with representatives of all sections of the community and stakeholders;
- Demonstrates how prevention, protection and response activities will be best used to mitigate the impact of risk on communities in a cost effective way;
- Provides details of how Fire and Rescue Authorities deliver their objectives and meet the needs of communities through working with partners;
- Has undergone an effective equality impact assessment process.
FBU – The current Action Plan only captures the overall intention of the IRMP working group, not the intentions of Service Delivery whose proposals, should they be implemented, are detrimental to the overall 5 year plan, Action Plan, community and Firefighter safety and to the Fire Authorities Strategic Commitments. The FBU suggests that RBFA asks the service management to pull all projects that are under the IRMP umbrella into the IRMP process to avoid the current situation where some projects are being implemented outside of the IRMP process.
Page 6 Value for Money
Para 1 – To provide the services in Berkshire for 2009/10 is approximately £33.5 Million. The funding is a combination of a Central Government grant of approximately (£18.1m) and Council Tax approximately (£15.4m). The Fire Service in Berkshire is the second lowest in the country with regard to Council Tax contributions (as a combined Fire Authority) with a Band D equivalent of £55.11.
FBU – Given that Berkshire is the second most cost effective Combined Fire Authority in the Country, it demonstrates that high quality of service can be achieved in a cost effective way. The current Service Delivery proposals, not contained within the Action plan, but should given they are part of the public-facing operational risk management, will result in a worsening of service which in real terms will mean less value for taxpayer’s money.
Page 7 Strategic Commitments
Para 1 – The Fire Authority’s vision is “A Safer Berkshire”. To deliver this vision the following Strategic Commitments have been endorsed by its members:
- Minimise loss of life, injury and damage from fire, road traffic collisions and other hazards.
- Improve public and business safety and reduce risk, through targeted education and enforcement of fire safety legislation.
- Demonstrate continuous improvement and efficiencies, ensuring consultation and partnership working.
- Be an employer of choice, offering equality of opportunity and development to all.
- Provide resilient emergency response through risk management and planning.
- Conduct activities in an environmentally sustainable way.
FBU – The current proposals will sadly and inevitably lead to this vision not being realised. Loss of life has increased and so has damage from fire. Despite the considerable efforts and investment, the Brigade continues to make little inroads in the reduction of dwelling fires and RTC’s. It is a fact of life that accidents will happen and the Brigade should ensure that it continues to invest and strive towards a no fire/RTC deaths goal but that the appropriate response resources in the appropriate locations are maintained and improved where necessary.
Page 8 Integrated Risk Management Plan Project Update
Crowthorne – The Brigade has continued using Camberley fire appliances, based in Surrey, on a trial basis to respond to incidents within a small area of Berkshire. The number of incidents has been lower than expected, which will affect the assessment of benefits provided if this alternative emergency resource is used.
To ensure accurate data is captured, the Brigade’s driving school will be used for time trials in the area. Once the data is captured it will be used to validate computer modelling to ensure informed decisions can be made about this project.
FBU – We have been informed that Surrey Fire and Rescue Service as part of their IRMP process are looking to re-locate one Camberley appliance ‘inland’. This will have a detrimental effect on RBFRS trial and will also impact on Surrey maintaining their standards. FBU suggests the proposed action plan is amended to reflect the current situation.
Cookham – The specialist off road vehicles were re-Iocated to Cookham fire station and the crews have been trained in their use. The project has therefore been completed. In addition, the crews from Cookham, along with crews from Maidenhead, have been trained how to use the state of the art Incident Command Unit. Recently there have been difficulties recruiting staff at Cookham fire station. As a result the fire station has been temporarily closed and staff and vehicles have been relocated and combined with crews from Maidenhead fire station, to ensure emergency response is maintained for both areas.
FBU – The FBU, in its submission to the Fire Authority meeting in July 2007 identified problems with the original proposal and these concerns have now come to fruition. Cookham has ‘closed down’, we have lost a major front line appliance, the Control Unit has failed to crew with the appropriate Retained personnel on various occasions and Maidenhead’s Wholetime crew have had to crew the vehicle resulting in yet another major appliance being lost for fire cover. Further to this, the brigade’s Major Incident Resilience work carried out as part of the RDS Review highlighted the difficulties posed in the crewing of the ICU for both the RDS and WT. This occurred in both the 10 pump scenario and the 2×6 pump table top exercise.
There have also been difficulties in crewing the ‘Specialist Off Road Vehicles’ resulting in them not being immediately available when required. Wholetime personnel are now being trained in their use and Wargrave RDS personnel are also being used to crew these vehicles.
The action plan does not identify these problems and difficulties and therefore there is no proposed plan to address them. The FBU suggests the plan is therefore amended in this area.
Environmental and Chemical Incident Response
The review was completed, and concluded that a replacement specialist Chemical Incident Unit was not required in 2009, saving in the region of £200,000. Alternatively a trial will be undertaken using the existing Operational Support Units (multi functional curtain sided vehicles), with amended stowage to accommodate the specialist equipment.
FBU – The £200,000 is a very high sum for a replacement vehicle. The FBU understands that a suitable replacement vehicle could have been purchased for some £80,000 and the trial has resulted in a compromise in the operational support capability of RBFRS.
Regional Fire Control Centre and FireLink – The projects are part of the Central Government Resilience Agenda. The Regional Control project is behind schedule and there are still a number of areas that require clarity around cost and functionality. Based upon current timelines the project is due to conclude in 2012. Officers will continue to address the risks as the project evolves.
FireLink is the communication system, which has successfully replaced our previous radio system, this will enable the control centres to communicate with emergency vehicles. The second of three phases is now completed. The risk surrounding this area has been reduced as a result of this recent phase.
FBU – The FBU has campaigned against the introduction of such control centres and to date, the FBU have been proved right in every aspect and at every step of the process. There is no confidence in the project and there is a high likelihood that the centres will not be ready in 2012, some considerable years behind schedule. We also have serious concerns over the likely cost to RBFRS and the likely consequences on the level and quality of service we will be able to provide the community.
The FBU calls on the Fire Authority to publicly condemn this ill thought out project.
Windsor – In February 2009 a Judicial Review found in favour of the Fire Authority’s consultation process to remove the night shift at Windsor fire station and provide cover from surrounding fire stations. Work is currently underway to implement the proposals
FBU – page 1, paragraph 5 of the Action Plan states “Over the next five years a comprehensive review will be undertaken to confirm emergency resources are located in the optimum location to assist the community when required.” The FBU therefore proposes that the implementation of the removal of the night cover is suspended until such a time as the review is carried out.
The FBU originally informed RBFRS that it could understand why there were proposals to relocate the Windsor appliance to Wokingham. At the same time the FBU linked the viability of this move of resources to the overall availability of appliances in the east of Berkshire. What we currently see is real problems with the overall availability of resources in the east of Berkshire with Ascot, Cookham and Maidenhead retained but with the plans for Windsor to be implemented irrespective of these.
RBFRS is currently undertaking a “Retained Duty System Staff Review 2010” the outcomes of which will not be known until late 2010. It is an already established fact that RDS availability in Ascot and Maidenhead is sporadic and unreliable due to staff shortages. RBFRS is failing its attendance times in areas covered by Ascot and the closure of Windsor at night time will result in further deterioration in the level of service provided to those communities.
Service Delivery proposals to change the PDA’s to RTC’s will require a shift appliance to attend every RTC. This will result in Slough’s fire appliances being unavailable more often to provide fire cover in Windsor, which was the main argument put forward by RBFRS in supporting the closure of Windsor at night time. Furthermore, should these proposals go ahead, it will place extra pressure on Bracknell to cover Ascot area and this will have a detrimental effect across the board.
This is on top of the loss of Sonning and Cookham appliances and the difficulties experienced in mobilising Ascot and Maidenhead. In effect, should this proposal go ahead, it will mean that RBFRS has lost two appliances from the East of the County and fire cover can not be maintained to the expected high standards the community is accustomed to.
The FBU also wishes to record that the “Updated Timeline on Projects” on pages 20 and 21 of the Action Plan state that the Twyford/Wargrave, Caversham/Dee Road are suspended “Awaiting the outcome of the Retained Duty System Staff Review Project”. The FBU has previously requested that management afford the same status to the Windsor project but this has blankly been refused. A political statement being made to the detriment of the community in East Berkshire.
One of the reasons for the night closure of Windsor was to allocate the resources to the higher risk area in Wokingham. The Fire Authority has already demonstrated leadership by upgrading Wokingham without the need to downgrade Windsor in order to achieve full day cover. The FBU believes that the Fire Authority needs to demonstrate that leadership again by working closely with the FBU in order to come to a sustainable and cost effective solution.
Whilst persons continue to die in, be injured in, be rescued from fire, road traffic collisions and other incidents, it is simply immoral and unjustifiable to reduce the level of fire cover.
Whilst property and valuable assets continue to be at risk, destroyed and rescued from fire, major floodings and other incidents it is simply immoral and unjustifiable to reduce the level of resources.
Given that the stated aim of the RBFA is to make our community safer by doing more with the same, the FBU would urge the Fire Authority to review their decision to downgrade Windsor pending the outcome of the Retained project.
Wokingham - Following the decision by the Fire Authority to increase the crewing at the station, it is now crewed seven days a week. However it is still not crewed at night due to the limited facilities at the station. To accommodate the crews at night it is necessary to build a new fire station on the existing site. Work is under way to submit plans and obtain permission to build the facility.
FBU – We welcome the ongoing investment in the upgrading of the station however, we do not believe that the new build will be finished by the end of 2010. The FBU has also become aware that management are looking at the feasibility of closing Windsor and moving the personnel to the Wokingham area prior to the new build. This is not reflected in the Action Plan nor is it in the spirit of the agreed 5 year IRMP. If that is the current plan it should be put into the document.
Twyford/Wargrave – due to the current difficulties recruiting Retained Duty System personnel (see retained viability section below), it is recommended that the proposal to build a new fire station at Twyford is postponed until such time as a way forward is established for the provision of emergency incident response across the Brigade area.
FBU – Given this statement it is clear to the FBU that RBFRS has no intention in building this station. These “difficulties” have not changed since the original 5 year IRMP plan, so why should they have such an impact now? There is no evidence of serious efforts being made to secure a site which could be purchased at a competitive price in the current climate.
Caversham Road = The 5 Year Plan proposed to relocate the crews from Dee Road fire station to Caversham Road fire station. Network Rail are undertaking significant expansion works of the train station and track in the vicinity of the fire station. The works include a temporary occupation of the fire station by Network Rail affecting the operational deployment of crews until the end of 2010…………
FBU – It is the FBU’s understanding that Network Rail are occupying the station and that the disruption will only cover 2 days on two separate occasions. We welcome the approach being made by management thus ensuring that the wider community is better protected. As previously communicated, the FBU continue to have concerns about this proposal as it will result in a vast number of people having to wait for an appliance should they have an emergency. Furthermore, there are serious shortages of Retained firefighters at Mortimer and Pangbourne which is currently backed up/covered by Dee Road.
Page 11 Long Term Strategies to Reduce Risk
Para 1 – Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service assesses risk to the community and risk to firefighters. The assessment of risk to the community has consistently identified two main areas that will cause death or injury to the public, these are road traffic collisions and fires in the home.
FBU – On the 2 April 2003 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) issued Fire Service Circular 7/2003. The circular informed all fire & rescue authorities in England, Wales & Northern Ireland that Integrated Risk Management Planning was a key element in the Government’s programme of reform and modernisation for the Fire & Rescue service. As such each authority would be required to produce an Integrated Risk Management Plan for their brigade area.
One of the government’s key objectives was a reduction in the commercial, economic and social impact of fires and other emergency incidents. The government subsequently produced a spreadsheet which allowed fire authorities to determine the consequential cost of fires to society and the economy.
The Services IRMP working party introduced baseline performance figures for dwelling fires and road traffic collisions based on 2002/3 data. It was agreed that these would be used as a benchmark to demonstrate year on year improvement. The FBU agreed in principal to this approach and asked for it to become a standing agenda item. Simply put, anything the Service did under IRMP would have a positive impact on performance based upon demonstrable evidence.
The Service’s current consultation Action Plan document clearly demonstrates that its performance has significantly decreased against these baseline figures of 2002/03. This is an extremely worrying trend which does not appear to be addressed within the document.
Taking into account the figures taken from CLG’s cost of fire index it can be clearly demonstrated in the following tables that the authority is not achieving its target to reduce the economic cost of fire associated with dwelling fires.
|Non fatal injury (average)||69||£72, 982||£5,035,758|
|Non fatal injury (average)||72||£72, 982||£5,254,704|
|Non fatal injury (average)||53||£72, 982||£3,868,046|
Note; In the absence of specific data non fatal injury equates to the average of the following three values:-
- Non fatal injury involving burns £174,354
- Non fatal injury (smoke) £44,019
- Non fatal injury other £574
- Average value £218947 / 3 = £72,982
The figures demonstrate that the cost of fire measured against dwelling fires has risen by £2,885,369 over the past three years which is clearly unacceptable. The FBU does not feel that this issue is adequately being addressed within the fire authority’s consultation IRMP document and would like to see additional initiatives to reduce the economic impact of fire in line with government’s expectations.
Page 11 Road Traffic Collisions
Safe Drive – Stay Alive
Hoax and Crash Impact
FBU – The FBU has and continuous to support RBFRS’s involvement and promotion of these initiatives but there is concern over the long term viability due to the source of the funding to carry out such functions.
Page 12 Response to Road Traffic Collisions
Table showing how Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service performs against the standard for Road Traffic Collisions
The Brigade’s performance in this area has slightly decreased. Every failure to achieve the performance standard is investigated by managers and action is taken to improve standards where necessary.
FBU – Despite the emphasis of IRMP being to reduce this risk, the FBU is concerned over the drop in performance and is alarmed at the failure of the Action Plan to address this issue. Furthermore, the current intention of Service Delivery to remove the RSV’s from the PDA’s without due IRMP process being followed will only result in a worse service being provided to the community. The FBU wish to see an attendance standard being set for RSV’s not just the first appliance.
Page 13 Fires In The Home
Although less people die in their homes as a result of fire than on the roads in Berkshire, it is still one of the highest risks to the community that needs to be managed by the Brigade. To reduce the risk of death and injury from fire the Brigade is undertaking targeted Home Fire Safety Checks. The check involves a visit to the home by brigade personnel, an assessment of risks arising from fire and the installation, if required, of a free smoke detector(s). To target the areas of highest need the Brigade utilises a range of data and information.
FBU – Home Fire Risk Checks have been the main vehicle to drive down the risk in the home and we welcome the continued commitment to this initiative. However, we have concerns over the long term viability of this project due to funding and also the fact that there are no contingencies in place to replace the detectors when they expire at the end of their 10 year life span.
Response to Dwelling Fires
- The higher risk localities where it is predicted that appliances will not reach dwelling fires within the standard response will be prioritised for community safety initiatives to drive down the risk.
FBU – As already indicated, the FBU has seen no evidence that this is the case and would like the Action Plan demonstrate where this has been achieved, what percentage of HFRC’s have been carried out in these areas and what plans does RBFRS have in order to drive down the risk in the future.
|Table showing how Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service performs against the optimum response for Dwelling Fires|
|Table showing how Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service performs against the standard response for Dwelling Fires|
The Brigade’s performance in this area has slightly decreased compared with the baseline year 2002/03. Every failure to achieve the performance standard is investigated by managers and action is taken to improve standards where necessary. The number of calls to dwelling fires has reduced over time, with a number now occurring in more remote locations from full time fire stations, which has an affect on performance.
FBU – Anything the Service does under IRMP must have a positive impact on performance based upon demonstrable evidence. The tables above clearly demonstrate that there are problems in this area which need to be investigated. It should also be noted that the figures produced above are based on a Brigade average and not that of individual appliance performance. The pursuit of downgrading Windsor will have a further detrimental effect on RBFRS’s performance.
Page 16 Sprinklers
Para 2 – Increasingly, ‘domestic’ type sprinklers are becoming available to protect the vulnerable in their homes. Whilst sprinklers are only mandatory in a small range of buildings, high rise flats, large uncompartmented buildings etc. the Brigade is keen to promote the use of sprinklers and is happy to provide advice to those considering their use.
FBU – We would like to see a commitment by the Fire Authority to lead by example and consider fitting sprinkler systems to its own premises. Furthermore, it is clear to the FBU that this initiative will only be successful if it becomes part of building regulations in relation to private dwellings. We urge the Authority to canvas government to introduce the appropriate legislation.
Page 23 Young Firefighter Programme
FBU – The FBU has and continuous to support RBFRS’s involvement and promotion of these initiatives but is concerned over the long term viability due to the source of the funding to carry out such functions.
Page 28 Retained Duty System Staff Review 2010
FBU – We welcome this well overdue project albeit we have reservations over its potential outcome. It is disappointing that despite RBFRS undertaking a comprehensive IRMP RDS project in its first IRMP, the outcomes of that project were never followed up. The FBU wishes to see a commitment to the long term viability of the RDS service in RBFRS
Page 29 Training Resources Review 2010
FBU – We welcome this review into our training facilities which at times are not fit for purpose due to the amount of courses being run and the fact that facilities have to be shared with a fire station and a commercial operation. We also wish to see a review of the human resources required to carry the necessary training in order to maximise knowledge and skills thus assisting in ensuring Firefighter safety and that of the community it serves.
Page 30 Heritage Buildings 2010
Due to a number of heritage buildings and structures in the Brigade area a review will be undertaken on how risk is managed for such premises. The review will consider how heritage is incorporated within the Brigade’s risk management systems, develop response and prevention strategies to reduce the risk and loss from fire. Some historic buildings, monuments and landscapes are of national or sometimes international importance contributing to the local economy through associated business enterprise and tourism. Any strategy to reduce loss will therefore have wider impacts than just the heritage site itself.
FBU – The Action Plan does not give an indication of the Brigades thoughts on a strategy and the Brigades admission that “Some historic buildings, monuments and landscapes are of national or sometimes international importance contributing to the local economy through associated business enterprise and tourism.” further demonstrates a rethink of its position with regards to Windsor fire station. It should be remembered that most serious fires and loss in property and life occur at night time, the same time period the Brigade wishes to withdraw cover.
ROYAL BERKSHIRE FIRE AUTHORITY
This response has been sent to all Members of the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority who have a duty to consult with all stakeholders on their Integrated Risk Management Plan.
ROYAL BERKSHIRE FIRE BRIGADES UNION
The FBU represents the vast majority of the uniformed staff in Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Our members are frontline public service workers – covering all roles of Firefighter including emergency fire control Firefighters.
The Union is divided into Branches which meet regularly at Brigade Committee. The day to day running of the Union in Berkshire is mandated to the Elected Officials.
Berkshire Fire Brigades Union -