How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
An effective fire and rescue service will identify and assess the full range of foreseeable fire and rescue risks its community faces. It will target its fire prevention and protection activities to those who are at greatest risk from fire. It will make sure businesses comply with fire safety legislation. When the public calls for help, the fire and rescue service should respond promptly with the right skills and equipment to deal with the incident effectively. Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness is good.
The service uses a wide range of data to build a risk profile across its four local authority areas. It uses this information to help decide where to locate its fire engines, and where to focus its protection and prevention work.
The service finds public engagement challenging. It ran an eight-week consultation on its strategic plan in 2017 but had a small number of responses. It also had limited input from the local community on its integrated risk management plan (IRMP).
The service uses its range of data to identify people in the community who are most at risk from fire and other emergencies. It needs to study the impact of its prevention work and make sure it targets it according to its risk profile. It does a range of work with people who are more likely to engage in fire-setting behaviour.
While the service responds to consultations, building regulation requests and complaints, it doesn’t target its protection work on its greatest risks. The service can’t carry out its risk-based inspection programme to the expectations set out in its IRMP because it doesn’t have enough qualified staff. The service could do more to reduce the impact of false alarms. It is committed to taking enforcement action if required, and does this well. The protection teams only work during office hours, so when firefighters find urgent protection problems outside these hours there is sometimes no one available to give advice.
The service has effective systems in place to learn from operational incidents, but it is not recording the learning from less serious incidents. It regularly visits and inspects premises that pose a greater risk to firefighters and the public. This information is stored centrally, but it is not always updated regularly. Firefighters can access this information in their fire engines, although crews say they sometimes have technical problems with the terminals. We found out-of-date risk information in a number of formats. These included printed information held on a fire engine, information on mobile data terminals (MDTs) and entries on the central database. Not having current risk information poses a risk to firefighters.
The service works well with, and is a leader within, the local resilience forum (LRF). It participates in planning and exercises for county-wide risks like flooding and fires at industrial sites. Staff are well trained, well equipped and knowledgeable about high-risk sites in their areas. They know how to access information about safety at particular sites, and understand how to identify vulnerable people at incidents and how to refer them for extra support.
The service has good response plans and is well prepared for incidents at high-risk premises. It has a new team of firefighters to support a response to a marauding terror attack, but so far this team has limited experience.
How well does the FRS understand the risk of fire and other emergencies?
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is good at understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies. But we found the following areas in which it needs to improve:
Areas for improvement
- The service needs to improve how it engages with the local community to build up a comprehensive profile of risk in the service area.
- The service should ensure its firefighters have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information.
All fire and rescue services should identify and assess all foreseeable fire and rescue-related risks. They should also prevent and mitigate these risks.
We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.
Understanding local and community risk
We found that the service uses a wide range of data to help it to understand the local risk. The data sources include indices of deprivation for each local authority area across Humberside, the national risk register and local fire service risk mapping.
The service takes data from social demographic profiling tools, and uses health data such as information about age and disabilities. The service also uses Environment Agency flood maps and fire modelling tools. This data helps the service to form its own high-level risk profile across its four local authority areas.
The service anticipates future risk by using local authority housing and redevelopment plans. Using these plans, in conjunction with previous incident data, the service is able to estimate future demand.
The service uses a range of computer-based fire modelling programmes to assess risk to help it to decide where it locates its fire engines, and to determine how quickly they should be able to reach fires and road traffic collisions. The information also helps the service to decide where to concentrate its protection and prevention work.
The service consults on its integrated risk management plan (IRMP). This includes working directly with its four local authorities as well as other local forums and the public. The IRMP is available in a wide range of formats and languages on request. The service finds it challenging to get the public to engage with the process. Data that the service gave us showed that the last IRMP consultation produced 14 responses from members of the public. A district management structure has recently been introduced to improve local engagement. A senior member of staff is aligned to each of the service’s four local authorities. This gives each local authority a point of contact and someone who has responsibility for prioritising the allocation of resources in that service delivery area.
The service provided evidence to show that it had consulted on its strategic plan. Between 11 September 2017 and 3 November 2017, the service ran an eight-week consultation exercise on its future activities. It specifically asked for feedback in four areas that included medical response, safe and well visits, equality and inclusion, and the charging for attendance at repeat false alarms.
We found it unclear how this consultation influenced change. For example, data that the service provided showed approximately 70 percent of respondents (35 out of 50 responses) supported charging for attending false alarms at commercial premises caused by faulty automatic fire alarms. These send an alarm to fire control when there is no fire. However, the service had not started to charge a fee for attending false alarms at the time of our inspection, which was over a year since the initial consultation took place. In order to maintain validity, the timescales between any public consultations and implementation of activities need to be kept to a minimum.
Humberside FRS covers a large, diverse geographical area, and varying factors affect the risk levels. In order to ensure that each area gets appropriate prevention, protection and response standards, the service subdivides its area into 41 smaller areas. The 41 areas vary in geographical size but approximately 20,000 people live in each area.
The service gives each of its 41 areas a dwelling risk rating (DRR). The DRR is based on the fire casualty and fatality rate within the area. This determines response standards and the levels of protection and prevention work undertaken. The service highlights that, for the higher-risk areas, the risk cannot be reduced by responses alone, but must be done in conjunction with prevention and protection activity.
Having an effective risk management plan
The service’s integrated risk management plan (IRMP) outlines five stages to manage risk. These include areas such as prevention, protection and response.
The inspection team found good evidence of continuing work with the LRF. The service chairs the forum and takes part in regular exercises and testing based on the local risk register. High-risk sites have operational tactical plans and are part of its programme of exercises.
We saw a good range of work aimed at reducing the number and impact of emergencies, as well as work to improve public safety and wellbeing. Information is provided within the IRMP, signposting the public on how to prepare for emergencies. This also includes the role of the LRF, community risk registers and community plans.
Evidence we gathered during the inspection clearly showed that, because of continuing capacity problems, the service is not effectively able to carry out its IRMP actions in respect of its risk-based inspection programme. We did find evidence that it uses information from partners such as Humberside Police to identify locations where there is a higher risk of deliberate fire setting. The service is also trialling the use of other datasets such as Care Quality Commission and Food Standards Agency ratings. The gathering of this extra data helps to inform its risk-based programme and influence the direction of the service’s work. However, without the necessary qualified and experienced staff to do this work, the service is not using the data effectively.
The service can respond quickly to incidents. All fire engines in Humberside have automatic vehicle location systems. These allows fire control to send the nearest appropriate fire engine to incidents. The response standard for major incidents is ten engines within 45 minutes of declaration. All engines carry equipment to deal with road traffic collisions, and there are specialist fire engines strategically located to deal with multi-vehicle crashes and light goods vehicle incidents. The service has a coastline and ports in its area, so it has marine firefighting capabilities at five specialist stations.
The service has a system in place where the recovery from incidents is helped by support from the Red Cross, in the form of a fire emergency support service. This can also be supported by the community safety staff.
Maintaining risk information
The service has a planned programme of work to ensure that wholetime crews regularly visit and inspect premises that pose a greater risk to firefighters and the public. Fire crews visit these sites to ensure that they are familiar with the site’s risks and that the information that the service holds is accurate. The service stores this information centrally. During an incident, firefighters are able to retrieve all the details about a site’s risk via an MDT on each fire engine.
However, we found that there isn’t a regular programme to ensure that on-call firefighters make site visits to update risk information. This means that some premises information for on-call station areas is not up to date.
At present, staff have to put any new risk information onto two different databases. The service is working to introduce a new system to prevent this duplication of work.
We found an isolated incident of a fire station holding out-of-date premises risk information as a back-up written copy on the fire engine. The crew told us they did this because of previous intermittent technical problems that caused the MDTs on the fire engine to freeze. We also discovered premises risk information that was out of date on the MDTs and the central premises risk information database. This practice could lead to firefighters accessing premises risk information that is not current.
We found evidence that demonstrated the service’s ability to share any risk information that it discovers when staff are doing other work. For example, if staff find dangerous situations, such as a house or flat where the owner is hoarding large amounts of belongings, or a site where there are cylinders that contain highly inflammable or potentially explosive material, fire control adds a temporary risk note to the premises. If firefighters are called to an incident at these premises, fire control can inform crews about potential hazards. We also saw comprehensive plans that the service had developed for temporary events within its area, such as Hull Pride, and response arrangements for a large music festival in 2017.
The service passes on safety-critical information to relevant staff groups. The service has several systems to inform its staff about risk information. These include face-to-face handovers between watches, briefings at the start of shifts and drill sessions, and the use of handover sheets. The service also circulates risk information via an Ops Flash message. All operational staff must confirm that they have received and understood any new risk information via their electronic personal development recording system (PDR Pro).
How effective is the FRS at preventing fires and other risks?
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is good at preventing fires and other risks. But we found the following areas in which it needs to improve:
Areas for improvement
- The service should ensure it targets its prevention work at people most at risk of fire in the home.
- The service should evaluate the impact of its prevention work and make improvements based on this evaluation.
We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has a wide range of data available that enables it to identify people in the community who are most at risk from fire and other emergencies. However, we found that the use of this data to target prevention work at those people who are most at risk from fire is not understood across all areas of the service.
The service completed 5,376 home fire safety checks in the year ending 31 March 2018. The service refers to home fire safety checks as safe and well visits. These visits include identifying potential fire risks, actions to reduce fire risks, ensuring that smoke alarms are fitted, advice on slips, trips, and falls, advice on social welfare, health prevention and health screening and detection.
We would expect that a greater proportion of prevention activity is targeted using the service’s own risk data. Of the visits it completed, 39 percent were following a partner referral and 27 percent of visits were unscheduled. Only 19 percent of visits were to people who were registered as disabled, and 46 percent to people who were over 65.
We saw evidence of a wide variety of methods of preventing fire and promoting community safety. But the service could not provide sufficient evidence to show that it is fully evaluating the impact of its prevention work. The service should improve the way it evaluates this work to better understand its effectiveness.
Promoting community safety
We found that the service has a comprehensive prevention strategy and implementation plan linked to its IRMP. However, we also found a lack of consistency and direction in the targeting of this work at the identified risk profile. For example, we would have expected the majority of safe and well visits to be aligned to the service’s own available data, but this was not the case.
The service has acknowledged this lack of consistency, and has recently introduced a new district management structure. A senior member of staff is aligned to each of the service’s four local authorities. This gives each local authority a point of contact and someone who has responsibility for prioritising the allocation of resources in that service delivery area.
The service carries out fire safety campaigns in line with the National Fire Chiefs Council’s national campaign planner. The service could not provide us with evidence that it had evaluated the effectiveness of this work.
There is good work with partner agencies in relation to fire prevention. The service relies on referrals from these agencies more than its own data to identify those people at risk of fire, including people who may be at risk of arson or other increased fire risks such as hoarding. Unlike some other fire services, Humberside FRS does not use these partner agencies to carry out safe and well visits on its behalf.
It was clear to the inspection team that staff in Humberside FRS understand how to identify vulnerable people, and how to safeguard them. We found good examples of staff identifying vulnerabilities and making safeguarding referrals during prevention, protection and response work.
The service has some specialist staff who support the prevention of arson. This work involves identifying arson hot spots, carrying out arson audits to remove combustible materials and increasing the fire service’s visibility in the Humberside area.
Data shows that the number of deliberate fires attended by the service have increased from 1,773 incidents in the year ending 30 September 2014 to 2,988 incidents in the year ending 30 September 2018. The service should make sure that it understands all reasons for this increase and evaluates its arson prevention work.
Firefighters visit schools and colleges to give general fire safety and awareness inputs. Fire setter, water safety and behavioural inputs are provided by specialist staff trained in this role. The service works in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, delivering personal development programmes for 16 to 25-year-olds with a range of vulnerabilities.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is a principal member of the Safer Roads Humber Partnership, along with the four unitary authorities, Humberside Police and the highways team. Four full-time fire service staff provide road safety education and engagement. These staff are fully funded by income that is generated from the educational aspect of the road safety partnership. For example, any fines levied on motorists who have committed minor traffic offences are re-invested in the partnership.
The road safety team uses data analysis to identify groups of people who are at higher risk of being killed or injured on the roads, such as newly qualified or elderly drivers. The data can also detail where and when various groups are more at risk of being involved in traffic accidents.
The service engages well with the community around road safety. Data from the service showed that the road safety team provided 265 engagement activities between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, and engaged with over 15,000 people.
Staff use a variety of methods and run specific campaigns, such as bespoke education packages for children and young people aged from 8 to 24. These cover road, bike, scooter and car safety. The work also covers mature car and motorbike drivers.
Staff work with groups such as schools, colleges, Age UK and local employers to raise awareness of commercial road risk. Data shows that drivers who drive as part of their job are at a higher risk of being involved in a road traffic collision, so the road safety team works with local companies to provide information about driving hours, tiredness, stress and vehicle checks. The service carries out the work with commercial organisations on a commissioned basis, and does the non-commercial work free of charge.
The staff who provide the educational sessions are specially trained and qualified to deliver these, and they utilise a variety of techniques designed to change people’s behaviour.
The service commissions an independent outside body to follow up the work and to assess performance. The external assessment concentrates on the results of the engagement work, and specifically assesses whether Humberside FRS’s road safety education has changed people’s behaviour on the roads.
How effective is the FRS at protecting the public through the regulation of fire safety?
Areas for improvement
- The service should assure itself that its enforcement plan prioritises the highest risks and includes proportionate activity to reduce risk. It should also include appropriate monitoring and evaluation.
- The service should ensure it addresses effectively the burden of false alarms (termed ‘unwanted fire signals’).
- The service should ensure it allocates enough resources to a prioritised and risk-based inspection programme.
- The service should ensure that it has adequate out of hours arrangements for urgent protection issues.
All fire and rescue services should assess fire risks in buildings and, when necessary, require building owners to comply with fire safety legislation. Each service decides how many assessments it does each year. But it must have a locally determined, risk-based inspection programme for enforcing the legislation.
We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.
The service has a risk-based inspection programme. However, we found that the service is not effectively matching its resources to risk and that it doesn’t have enough qualified protection staff to meet the expectations set out in this programme.
We found that the service is not auditing its identified high-risk premises on a suitable basis. In the year to 31 December 2018, the service audited 116 of the 2,054 high-risk premises it had identified. This is approximately 6 percent of the service’s identified high-risk premises. The number of high-risk audits completed has also decreased over the past couple of years, with 303 audits completed in 2015/16 and 296 in 2016/17. In the year to 31 March 2018, the service carried out 2.3 fire safety audits per 100 known premises (which equates to 881 audits) compared with the England rate of 3.0 over the same period.
We were unable to ascertain the service’s own expectations for the number of audits it should complete as the service does not set performance figures as part of its risk-based inspection programme.
This drop in the number of audits may affect how building owners are complying with fire safety regulations and could place the public at greater risk of using premises that may be unsafe. For example, if a building does not comply with regulations, the fact that the service is only undertaking limited protection work reduces its opportunity to identify potentially unsafe buildings. It also means that the service is not gathering risk information that it would gather during routine inspections, thereby reducing information given to operational staff about certain buildings within its area. The service’s high proportion of satisfactory audits could suggest that the service may not be consistently identifying and auditing premises that are at higher risk of not complying with fire safety regulations.
Operational fire crews do not carry out any protection work as a standard task. However, the service is trialling a new approach that will see fire crews carrying out short audits on lower risk premises which is a positive step. The service anticipates that this will free up some capacity and enable its specialist protection staff to carry out more audits on high-risk premises.
The service responds to consultations, building regulation requests and complaints within the agreed timescales.
While the service has a low number of prosecutions – two over the past eight years – it is committed to take enforcement action when considered appropriate. A sample of recent enforcement action showed that this had been carried out to a good standard.
The service has an agreement with its local authority housing teams. Housing teams inspect and enforce fire safety regulations in houses of multiple occupation. This relieves some of the burden on the service’s protection team. The service must ensure that the local authority teams are identifying any potential risks and sharing this information with operational crews.
The service works alongside other enforcement agencies such as Humberside Police, the Health and Safety Executive and HM Revenue & Customs.
Fire protection is a specialist function. The protection teams mainly work during normal office hours, which means that there is limited capability to deal with urgent fire safety issues outside these hours. It also means that expert advice is sometimes not available to crews or other interested parties who discover urgent, safety-critical protection problems. The service should look to address this.
Working with others
We found that current staff levels and the resulting reduced capacity in the protection teams is limiting their ability to carry out proactive work. As at 31 December 2018, there were 14 competent staff dedicated to protection. This compares with 20 staff, as at 31 March 2015. Three members of staff are currently being trained to become competent in protection work.
With the service’s protection resource focused on meeting the service’s risk-based inspection programme, there is limited capacity for other work. As a result, there is little engagement with local businesses to ensure that they comply with fire regulations. The service does provide some advice for businesses on its website.
The service still attends 75 percent of the automatic fire alarm calls it receives. We found that fire control does some limited call challenge when a fire alarm is received from an alarm monitoring company. Between 1 July and 31 December 2018, the service received 2,070 calls from automatic fire alarms. We could find no evidence of either fire control or protection staff monitoring or following up the calls to try to reduce the number of false alarms that the service is receiving and attending.
How effective is the FRS at responding to fires and other emergencies?
Managing assets and resources
The service carries out a thorough assessment and gains a good understanding of its local risks to determine its response strategy. As at 31 March 2018, the service had 43 fire engines at 31 fire stations (7 wholetime, 19 on-call and 3 wholetime/on-call stations and 2 flexible crewing). These numbers are in line with the service’s dwelling risk rating, industrial risks and its response to road traffic collisions. All fire engines have automatic vehicle location systems to enable fire control to mobilise the nearest appropriate fire engine to any incident.
The service has 15 specialist fire engines, including a hydraulic platform, 3 aerial platforms and several other support vehicles. This means that the service has an appropriate level of specialist vehicles to deal with the range of expected types of incident.
Marine firefighting capabilities are located at five specialist stations along the River Humber.
The service manages the availability of fire engines on a dynamic basis and uses its wholetime and day duty staff to cover stations to maximise the number of fire engines and staff available every day. Between April and December 2018, average pump availability ranged from 91 percent to 94 percent. A daily brief looks at the availability of fire engines, and the service moves staff to ensure that each area has cover for stations that are unavailable because of crewing, exercising, training or ‘live’ incidents.
The service’s response standard to dwelling fires determines the target time for the first fire engine to arrive on at least 90 percent of occasions as:
- high risk – 8 minutes;
- medium risk – 12 minutes; and
- low risk – 20 minutes.
For road traffic incidents, the standard attendance is for the first fire engine to arrive within 15 minutes on at least 90 percent of occasions.
Between 1 April and 31 December 2018, the service achieved these response standards in 98 percent of incidents.
The target is for a second fire engine to arrive within five minutes of the arrival of the first engine on at least 80 percent of incidents. Between 1 April and 31 December 2018, the service achieved this response standard in 90 percent of incidents.
The service also set a response standard based on a planning assumption for its industrial risks. It sets a target of being able to get 10 fire engines on site within 45 minutes of declaring a major incident.
In the year to 31 March 2018, the service’s average response time to primary fires was 8 minutes 32 seconds.
We found that the service has a programme to review its policies against national operational guidance (NOG). At present, the only piece of guidance fully adopted is the updated incident command guidance. We found inconsistent evidence about the timescales and priority for full adoption of all NOG. The service has created a temporary area manager role to oversee the implementation of NOG.
We visited 15 operational fire stations during our inspection. The staff at these stations comprised both wholetime and on-call firefighters. We found they were well trained, well equipped and knowledgeable about the high-risk sites in their station areas. The staff we met were able to carry out risk-critical equipment checks to a good standard. The firefighters demonstrated how they accessed site-specific risk information (SSRI), and some staff were able to do this in a timely manner using MDTs on fire engines. However, we noted that firefighters’ competence to use the terminals was inconsistent across the range of staff we sampled.
Staff at on-call stations respond to medical emergencies as part of the service’s emergency first responder scheme. The emergency first responder staff are additional to fire engine crews and respond in a specialist vehicle. In the year to 30 September 2018, the service responded to 2,510 medical incidents.
During reality testing, we found that incident commanders showed confidence and understanding about their command role. However, not all incident commanders understand some of the changes to incident command systems and terminology in the new national operational guidance. For example, we found inconsistency in the levels of understanding about the relatively new terms used in the guidance such as the ‘decision control process’ and operational discretion.
Incident commanders demonstrated good knowledge of support materials available to them. These include aide memoires, command support packs, analytical risk assessments and decision logs.
Commanders told us they felt that senior leaders supported them to step outside standard procedures at incidents where it was appropriate. This was supported by our staff survey (please see About the Data page for more details). Of the 61 firefighters who were crew manager rank or above who responded, 74 percent agreed that they would be supported to use unauthorised tactics, or use tactics in a novel way if an incident required it.
It was clear to the inspectors that the service gives priority to risk-critical training. Operational crews have a structured programme of maintenance of skills training and operational exercises.
The service uses eLearning programmes for the training and development of incident commanders. The service assesses command skills for station managers and below every two years, and annually for group and area managers. Incident commanders also take part in regular operational exercises as part of their training.
Keeping the public informed
The service uses its website to inform the public about incidents. It is updated automatically with anonymised details of incidents attended and excludes any sensitive information. The service also has Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts to promote fire safety campaigns.
Outside office hours, no specialist media support is available to incident commanders. The managers who attend an incident are expected to pass on any media messages. This arrangement could result in important media messages not being communicated because of operational priorities. The service provided evidence that showed some managers have received media training, but this did not cover everyone who would be expected to undertake the role.
We found that staff had a good understanding of how to identify vulnerable people at incidents and how to refer people who may need extra support. Control staff, firefighters and community safety advocates were able to describe and demonstrate the referral process with confidence. Some staff had completed a formal eLearn pack on safeguarding, and other staff had received an informal input from more experienced colleagues.
Evaluating operational performance
The service has effective systems in place to learn from operational incidents. Fire control instigates an operational assurance process in line with the service policy. This formal process allows the incident commander or specialist operational assurance officer to record any learning points on PDR Pro, the electronic training recording system. Once the information is on the system, all staff can add any identified learning points. Around three-quarters of the 126 firefighters or specialist support staff who responded to the staff survey agreed that the service takes action as a result of learning from operational incidents.
However, this process is not fully embedded across the service. We reviewed the service’s central database and interviewed staff and found an inconsistent level of understanding about operational learning and varied completion of the forms on PDR Pro. We also found that the service is not recording some lower-level, but important, learning, which it isn’t using for continuous operational improvement.
We saw good evidence of the service telling all firefighters and staff about learning. The operational assurance and health and safety teams highlight any significant information. The service tells firefighters and staff about this information via the service’s weekly internal newsletter, specialist operational assurance updates or safety flashes if the service considers that the risk is higher.
Staff on stations are made aware of relevant information during handover and the information is also displayed on everyone’s home page on the Personal Development and Review (PDR Pro) system. Staff must indicate they have read and understood the information before they can access any further pages of the PDR Pro system. The system also allows staff to seek further information if they need it.
Following two significant incidents within Humberside, the service created full case studies outlining the learning points. The service shared this information with other fire and rescue services through the national operational learning system. We also saw the service had reviewed and changed its own operational procedures, in response to both local and national incidents.
How effective is the FRS at responding to national risks?
All fire and rescue services must be able to respond effectively to multi-agency and cross-border incidents. This means working with other fire and rescue services (known as intraoperability) and emergency services (known as interoperability).
The service has trained managers to work with other agencies. Group managers are trained to be national incident liaison officers (NILOs). Senior managers attend the multi-agency gold incident command (MAGIC) training and maintain their competency by taking part in regular exercises as part of the local resilience forum.
The service has a detection, identification and monitoring unit (DIM), boat teams and a high-volume pump that are available as national assets. We found that senior commanders and control staff were competent and confident to mobilise and ask for national assets. The service has a mutual aid policy so that it can support neighbouring services and ask for similar support itself if it needs to do so.
The service has recently created a team of firefighters to support a response to a marauding terror firearms attack. The team had only existed for a month at the time of our inspection. We found that this new team has limited experience in this specialist field.
We found that the service has good risk and response plans and is well prepared to attend incidents that occur at its many industrial and high-risk premises.
Working with other services
Crews are confident in being able to access information for high-risk premises in neighbouring services’ areas. The mapping software allows crews to see other fire services’ risk information to a maximum of 10km outside the Humberside border.
The service is part of the East Coast and Hertfordshire Control Room Consortium. This service control function will use the same mobilising system as Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire. The service said that it has anticipated this and will provide increased resilience and enable call handling support during periods of high demand. Humberside FRS anticipates that the project will go live during 2019.
Humberside FRS’s staff take part in training exercises with neighbouring services at risk sites. These are organised informally rather than as part of a co-ordinated programme. The service would benefit if this were structured to ensure all staff have the opportunity to participate.
Working with other agencies
The service is a principal member of the Humber Resilience Forum (HRF). This gives operational managers the opportunity to take part in several annual multi-agency exercises in line with the HRF exercise planner. For example, during 2018, exercises involved major flooding and mass power outage.
We found that incident commanders and firefighters had a good understanding of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles. We found evidence of practical application by those staff during multi-agency exercises with other responders.