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Norfolk 2018/19

Effectiveness

How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?

Last updated 19/06/2019
Requires improvement

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. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness requires improvement.

Norfolk FRS requires improvement to the way it understands the risk of fire and other emergencies. It engages with the public but does not use what it finds out to improve its understanding of risk. Crews visit high-risk sites and collect data they can use during incidents.

The service requires improvement to the way it prevents fires and other risks. It has a backlog of home fire risk checks to do. We were pleased to see it is making progress with a plan to reduce this. It communicates well with the public. It prioritises safeguarding, but staff knowledge of safeguarding is patchy. The service is active in reducing casualties on the county’s roads.

The service requires improvement to how it protects the public through fire regulation. Its rate of fire safety audits is in line with the rest of England. It is not responding fast enough to requests for building control consultations. This is because its protection department hasn’t enough capacity. The service approaches enforcement in a supportive way. Not all staff understand its policy to work with premises that have a lot of unwanted fire signals.

Norfolk FRS is good in the way it responds to fires and other emergencies. The service is keen to improve its on-call availability. It uses dynamic mobilisation to send the quickest resources to incidents, but it isn’t always achieving its response targets. Fire control staff give fire survival guidance to callers effectively.

The service is good at responding to national risks. During a major incident, staff know how to get hold of national resources and additional resources from neighbouring services. Norfolk FRS works well with its neighbours for a cross-border response, but staff find it hard to access cross-border risk information. It does a variety of exercises with other agencies to test different scenarios. It is generally well prepared for terrorist incidents.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How well does the FRS understand the risk of fire and other emergencies?

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The service should improve how it uses information from its engagement with the local community to build up a comprehensive profile of risk in the service area.
  • The service should ensure that its integrated risk management plan is informed by a comprehensive understanding of current and future risk. A wide range of data should be used to build the risk profile and operational data should be used to test that it is up to date.

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

The service makes effective use of social media and its website to engage with the public. But we saw no evidence of it using this engagement to help it build up a comprehensive risk profile.

The service consulted with the public during the planning stages of its current (2016–20) integrated risk management plan (IRMP). People could respond online, by email, on social media, by telephone and in writing. It received approximately 600 responses. As a result of public feedback, proposals were amended, including:

  • simplifying the service’s vision;
  • reducing the level of savings made; and
  • not changing the staffing arrangement at two of its stations from 24/7 to 12/7.

The service used a narrow range of information to define risk profile within its 2016–20 IRMP. This included:

  • Mosaic data (a computer database providing information on households for a
    given postcode);
  • incident data (including fires and road traffic collisions); and
  • home fire risk checks carried out.

The service considers how it will address emerging and future risks in defining its strategic challenges:

  • financial pressures;
  • geographical coverage;
  • climate change;
  • an increasing and ageing population;
  • the changing role of the fire and rescue service;
  • firefighter safety; and
  • collaborative working.

The service’s previous IRMP, 2014–17, included “a detailed analysis of the existing and potential risks to the community in Norfolk, and an evaluation of the service’s effectiveness in dealing with them”. But the service chose not to review and update that information for its 2016–20 IRMP. So its current IRMP is based on dated information. This means the service cannot be sure that it fully understands current and future risks. And it cannot be sure it is allocating resources appropriately to manage those risks. The service is aware of this and is planning for its next IRMP. It is assessing a wide range of data, information and modelling to ensure that the future plan draws on a comprehensive understanding of current, emerging and future risk. The service will consult with the public on the proposals within its new IRMP later in 2019.

Having an effective risk management plan

The service’s 2016–20 IRMP sets out its strategic vision that “in 2020, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service will be at the heart of community protection for Norfolk”.

The service shows how the vision will be delivered through prevention, protection and response activity.

The service considers what impact threats and hazards identified in the National Risk Register have in Norfolk. It makes links to the local risk register too. The service plays a leading role in the Norfolk Resilience Forum (NRF). 

Maintaining risk information

The service has a programme of visits to high-risk sites. It gave us data that showed it held risk files for a total of 603 sites at the time of inspection. Fire crews familiarise themselves with these sites and collect site-specific risk information (SSRI). Norfolk FRS calls these ‘risk logs’. Crews add this information to a database. They can access it via mobile data terminals during an incident. In on-call areas, the on-call staff make familiarisation visits, but operational support officers take responsibility for collecting and updating the SSRI. We found SSRI information to be up to date and subject to regular review. Crews also carry out exercises at their high-risk sites.

We saw evidence of the improvements that new provision of operational risk information system (PORIS) software will bring. It will make it easier for crews to record risk information and it will help them work out the risk scores of premises more accurately. It is due to be launched in mid-2019.

The service communicates information for temporary events to operational crews effectively. An example of this is for Cromer Show. The station manager attends a council-led safety advisory group and then emails response plans to operational crews.

The service has an effective system to communicate general risk information. We saw it passed on using a variety of methods. These included:

  • face-to-face handovers between watches;
  • briefings at the start of shifts and drill sessions; and
  • the use of station printer and flash messages.

The service also circulates risk information in health and safety bulletins.

2

How effective is the FRS at preventing fires and other risks?

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it targets its prevention work at people most at risk. This should include proportionate and timely activity to reduce risk.
  • The service should ensure that staff have a good understanding of how to identify vulnerability and safeguard vulnerable people.
  • The service should better evaluate its prevention work, so it understands all the benefits more clearly.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Prevention strategy

As at 31 March 2018, the risk checks in the service included:

  • ensuring working smoke alarms are fitted;
  • identifying potential fire risks;
  • taking action to reduce fire risks; and
  • giving advice on slips, trips and falls.

The service’s 2018–20 community safety strategy sets out plans to expand these risk checks. They will include:

  • stopping smoking;
  • wellbeing;
  • crime and scam prevention; and
  • security.

This is due for implementation in mid-2019. In the year to 31 March 2018, the service carried out 4.2 home fire risk checks per 1,000 population.

The service finds people who need home fire risk checks through a variety of sources. These include referrals from partners, self-referrals and responses to leaflet drops by operational crews. The service makes some effort to identify those most at risk, but this effort is inconsistent and ineffective. All requests for a home fire risk check are added to a list without any prioritisation. So someone who is more at risk may have to wait longer than someone who has a lower risk.

Also, the service does not appear to effectively monitor whether home fire risk checks are being targeted to high-risk groups. For example, the service couldn’t say how many households including people with disabilities received a home fire risk check in the year ending 31 March 2018.

The service has a considerable backlog of home fire risk checks awaiting completion, especially in rural areas. Some have been on a waiting list for several months.

The service has an action plan to reduce the backlog in a targeted way, starting with the most at risk. We saw good progress against this action plan. It reduced the backlog by almost 50 percent between our discovery activity in December 2018 and fieldwork in February 2019.

On-call staff have not in the past carried out home fire risk checks. Some on-call stations are now piloting their involvement. We look forward to seeing how this progresses.

The service has evaluated some of its prevention activity and identified its impact. It acknowledges there is more it can do to ensure that it evaluates all prevention activity consistently. Norfolk County Council’s libraries department is developing a service evaluation tool. Norfolk FRS is considering adopting and adapting this to evaluate its prevention work.

Promoting community safety

The service makes effective use of social media to raise awareness and campaign to prevent fires and promote community safety. A dedicated digital media officer, supported by Norfolk County Council’s communications team, delivers a communication strategy. This is linked to national campaigns and local prevention activities. The service created and introduced the #TestItTuesday weekly reminder to test smoke alarms. Many other FRSs now use this too. The service targets its communications to ensure that it meets the needs of the community. Its website has accessibility tools including translations, a ‘read page aloud’ option and a text size increaser.

The service is very successful at engaging with children and young people through initiatives such as crucial crew and The Prince’s Trust. Crucial crew is a multi-agency event aimed at children aged 10 and 11. It covers topics such as fire safety, water safety, road safety, internet safety and bullying. The service works with the College of East Anglia to deliver The Prince’s Trust TEAM programme. TEAM is for young people aged 16 to 25 who are not in employment, education or training. It covers areas such as teamwork, leadership, communication and safety.

The service work closely with partners such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Inland Waterways Association and Broads Beat to deliver targeted water safety awareness training.

Safeguarding is a clear priority for the service at a strategic level. Senior leaders sit on local safeguarding boards. But safeguarding is not well understood across the service. Staff have not received any recent training on how to identify vulnerabilities. We found staff’s knowledge of safeguarding to be inconsistent. Many of them told us that they would “rely on common sense” to make referrals. The service has acknowledged that it needs to make more referrals. This would be in line with its safeguarding referral policy.

Fire and police community safety teams work in the same space. This closer working helps them to reduce arson. One of their initiatives aims to reduce arson on farms. The service also works closely with other departments within Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council on initiatives to reduce arson. Staff told inspectors that they had been doing less to reduce arson in recent years. They felt that this was because of more limited capacity within the department and within partner organisations. The service gives advice on preventing arson during fire safety inspections and visits to collect SSRI.

The police and other partner agencies refer to the service young people who have been involved in fire-setting behaviour. Community safety advisers and a small number of firefighter volunteers make fire-setter visits to these young people.

Road safety

One of Norfolk FRS’s road safety partners said, “The service is a very active member of the Norfolk road casualty reduction partnership.” The partnership involves the police, Norfolk County Council and other organisations as well as Norfolk FRS. It targets four priority groups:

  • vulnerable road users including cyclists and scooter riders;
  • older drivers;
  • motorcyclists; and
  • young drivers.

Initiatives include community events, school presentations and child car seat fitting.

Partners confirmed that the service played a key role in supporting the Norfolk police and crime commissioner’s road safety campaign, #Impact. This educational programme, delivered with Norfolk Constabulary and the East of England Ambulance Service, is aimed at young drivers. It includes the use of virtual reality goggles to highlight some of the dangers faced on the roads. And it encourages those taking part to sign a ‘young driver’s pledge’.

The service has evaluated its road safety campaigns. It asked previous attendees of #Impact events what they remembered from the event and how their behaviour had changed. The service showed us data suggesting that over 60 percent of 157 respondents said that their behaviour as a driver or a passenger had changed as a result of attending the event.

3

How effective is the FRS at protecting the public through the regulation of fire safety?

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it allocates enough resources to a prioritised and risk-based inspection programme. This should include its arrangements for providing specialist protection advice out of hours.
  • The service should ensure that staff work with local businesses and large organisations to share information and expectations on compliance with fire safety regulations.
  • The service should ensure it addresses effectively the burden of false alarms.

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.

Risk-based approach

All fire and rescue services must promote fire safety, which includes fire protection. So they should assess fire risks in buildings and, when necessary, force landlords and owners to comply with fire safety legislation. It is up to each fire and rescue service to decide how many assessments it carries out each year. But each must have a locally determined, risk-based inspection programme (RBIP). And each must have a management strategy for enforcing the regulations: the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O).

Norfolk FRS has an RBIP and enforcement plan. It uses these to prioritise its activities based on risk. It uses a narrow set of data to define high risk. The service’s main priority is premises with a sleeping risk. A property is said to have a sleeping risk if multiple people sleep there. Examples are care homes, hotels, hostels and flats above commercial premises. The service introduced a new protection strategy for 2018/19 in late 2018. This widened its definition of high risk in line with the community fire risk management information system definition. And it now includes buildings with aluminium composite material cladding. The service should ensure that this definition of high risk is included in its RBIP. In its new protection strategy, the service has committed to auditing all its 50 known high-risk premises every year. In the year to 31 December 2018, the service audited ten high-risk premises.

The service uses a mix of short and long audits. In the year to 31 March 2018, the service completed 293 full audits and 383 short audits. This equates to 2.9 fire safety audits per 100 known premises, compared with the England rate of 3.0 over the same period. Of the 676 fire safety audits the service carried out in the year to 31 March 2018, the fire safety inspectors deemed 88.5 percent of premises satisfactory. To ensure consistency and provide quality assurance, inspectors carry out peer audits of other inspectors’ cases.

The service is failing to meet its target of responding to building control consultations within 15 working days. In the year ending 31 March 2018, it responded to building control consultations within the required time 89 percent of the time. This delay is due to limited capacity within the protection department. This department’s lack of capacity means that reactive work (such as building consultations and responding to fire safety concerns and complaints) takes priority over its planned activity. This potentially delays the inspection of high-risk premises.

The protection department has recently promoted non-specialist staff into middle-manager positions. This, coupled with the department’s structure, means that the service has a limited number of experienced staff qualified to give out-of-hours enforcement support. Existing specialist staff can meet this out-of-hours need but are stretched. The service has acknowledged that it needs to increase capacity and resilience.

Specialist staff are generally well trained. They have either completed or are working towards a Level 4 Diploma in Fire Safety. The service has support from regional partners to assist with complex cases. Operational staff who carry out low-level audits have received basic hazard spotting training.

Enforcement

The service’s preferred option is to take a supportive approach, based on informal action, to fire safety legislation compliance. When necessary, it is prepared to take enforcement action.

In the year to 31 March 2018, the service issued:

  • 63 informal notices;
  • four enforcement notices (under Article 30 of RR(FS)O);
  • three prohibition notices (under Article 31 of RR(FS)O); and
  • one prosecution (under Article 32 of RR(FS)O).

The service has well-trained staff who carry out regular continuing professional development. This includes enforcement scenario planning. The service has support from a fire safety barrister and the county council’s legal services department.

The service works closely with other agencies to enforce fire regulations. Its partners include local authorities, housing departments, environmental health and trading standards. They carry out joint visits and enforcement action and share risk information. We saw evidence of a recent joint visit to a restaurant by the service, police and environmental health. As a result, environmental health served a prohibition notice on the restaurant. We also saw evidence of a joint investigation with trading standards into fake cigarettes.

Working with others

The service has a call-challenge and non-attendance policy to automatic fire alarms (AFAs) in line with national guidance. In the year ending 31 December 2018, the service received 2,050 unique calls for assistance from AFAs. It did not attend 908 (44 percent) of these. It will, of course, attend if it receives confirmation of a fire.

In addition, the service has a policy to work with those premises that generate the most false alarms. This is to reduce call-outs. The policy is not well understood and so it is not consistently applied. Limited capacity within the protection department also means that the service does not prioritise this work. Data suggests that the number of false alarms has remained relatively stable since 2015/16. The service uses its website to share information with businesses about fire safety and fire safety regulations. The service had a stand at the Norfolk county show. This was the only example we saw of direct engagement with businesses apart from inspections and audits within the last year. The service acknowledges it could do more to engage informally with businesses, but it is limited by protection team capacity.

The service would benefit from evaluating its protection and enforcement activity. This would ensure that it has a significant impact on keeping people safe and secure from fire. It would also promote continuous improvement that would translate into better service to the public.

4

How effective is the FRS at responding to fires and other emergencies?

Good

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to fires and other emergencies. But we found the following area in which it needs to improve:

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it has an effective system for staff to use learning and debriefs to improve operational response and incident command.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Managing assets and resources

The service’s response strategy aims to provide a proportionate response to the risk identified through the NRF and the community risk register. It sets out to contribute to its IRMP vision to “be at the heart of community protection for Norfolk”.

The response strategy provides a clear rationale for maintaining sufficient capacity to:

  • carry out firefighting and water removal;
  • perform rescues;
  • deal with hazardous material and environmental protection incidents; and
  • respond to acts of terrorism.

Resources are located around the county based on the service’s ten-minute travel time zones. This is to ensure it has enough resources to meet its emergency response standards, detailed below.

The service has a sufficient range of equipment and trained personnel to implement this strategy. This includes specialist equipment and personnel to respond to:

  • flooding and water rescues;
  • large animal rescues;
  • heavy transport incidents; and
  • rescues from height.

The service has an on-call availability system that allows staff to update availability via an app on their mobile phones. This gives accurate and up-to-date information on appliance availability. On-call staff told us how easy and effective they find this system.

The service reported on-call availability of 84 percent against its target of 90 percent for 2017/18. Between April 2018 and December 2018, the overall average monthly pump availability ranged from between 82 percent and 87 percent. Evidence collected during inspection suggested that on-call availability during the day fluctuates and is generally lower. The service acknowledges that it has work to do to improve on-call availability during the day. It is implementing measures to enable these improvements.

Fire control staff allocate resources to incidents based on pre-determined attendances (PDAs). Staff can use their professional judgment to increase or decrease PDAs based on information received from callers. We saw evidence of this during inspection.

The service uses dynamic mobilising. The mobilising system identifies the quickest resource available to send to incidents using the automatic vehicle location system. The system also includes data on previous response times for on-call staff to ensure that the quickest resource is mobilised. The average crew turnout time for a primary fire has improved from 2 minutes 22 seconds in the year ending 31 March 2016 to 2 minutes 2 seconds in the same timeframe in 2018.

The service belongs to the East Coast control room consortium with Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire and Humberside FRSs. The aim of the consortium is to jointly procure a new mobilising system to improve resilience and capacity within all four control rooms. Other members of the consortium have experienced problems with implementation of the new software. This has delayed its implementation within Norfolk.

Fire control is soon due to move into the Norfolk Constabulary control room to form a joint police and fire communication and control room. The aim is to further improve interoperability.

Response

The service has carried out a gap analysis against national operational guidance (NOG). It is part of a regional NOG group that plans to fully adopt NOG across the region by 2020. We saw that firefighters have good knowledge, understanding and practical application of breathing apparatus procedures in line with NOG.

In the year to 31 March 2018, the service’s average response time to primary fires was 10 minutes 14 seconds. However, the service also has time-based emergency response standards set out in its IRMP. It aims to respond to:

  • fires where life may be at risk within 10 minutes 80 percent of the time; and
  • other emergencies where life may be at risk within 13 minutes 80 percent of the time.

The service reported that between 1 April 2018 and 31 December 2018, it achieved its ten-minute target for fires where life may be at risk 69.3 percent of the time. So it is not currently achieving its target in this area. For other emergencies where life may be at risk, the service achieved its target of responding within 13 minutes 85.2 percent of the time. We visited a range of operational fire stations during our inspection. The staff in these stations worked a mix of wholetime, on-call and day-crewed duty systems. The service has a standard training plan. It trains staff and maintains their competencies against this. Staff are well trained, well equipped and knowledgeable. They showed a good understanding of the high-risk sites in their station areas. They could access SSRI in a timely manner, using mobile data terminals on fire engines.

Fire control staff make effective use of flash messages to update crews about changes to risk information. The service can also make live changes on the mobilising system to ensure that information is up to date.

Command

Incident commanders, at all levels, can command fire service assets assertively, effectively and safely. We saw evidence of detailed knowledge of NOG along with effective decision making, using the decision control process. As part of our inspection, we carried out a survey of staff to get their views of their service (refer to About the Data page for more details). Of the 107 firefighters who responded, 95 percent agreed that the last incident they attended was commanded assertively, effectively and safely.

Incident commanders use the service’s support materials effectively. These materials include:

  • command support packs;
  • checklists;
  • analytical risk assessments;
  • key decision records; and
  • message logs.

The service has an effective system to ensure that incident commanders maintain their command competence. As well as regular refresher training, incident commanders at all levels complete a two-yearly, written and practical, operational safety critical assessment.

Incident commanders told us they had the support of senior leaders to use operational discretion and depart from guidance when appropriate. We got 71 responses to our survey of staff at the rank of crew manager or above. Of these, 82 percent were confident that they would be supported by the service if they used unauthorised tactics, or used tactics in a novel way.

Keeping the public informed

The service makes good use of the live incident feed on its website to communicate information about incidents to the public. This is updated every ten minutes with a summary of the incident and resources in attendance. The service also provides additional information, including safety messages from incidents, using social media. This is provided 24 hours a day by a digital media officer, fire control and Norfolk County Council’s press team.

The service has a robust referral process so that it can refer on urgent safeguarding issues identified at incidents. It does this via fire control. But, as detailed above, staff knowledge and understanding of vulnerability are inconsistent.

Inspectors found that fire control staff can communicate fire survival guidance to the public effectively. This is in line with national guidance and tailored to specific premises, based on risk. The service tests and updates these procedures with regular training and exercises.

Evaluating operational performance

We found an inconsistent approach to debriefing incidents and sharing learning from them.

We saw evidence that crews carry out hot debriefs immediately after incidents. Most crews knew they could submit learning to the Ops Assurance team using an OP25 form. But we found evidence that this is not always done. When learning had been submitted to the Ops Assurance team, we saw examples of it being acted on. For example, the service changed procedures or equipment.

We saw evidence that small numbers of structured debriefs take place. Many operational and fire control staff suggested that these were infrequent and that all the relevant people were invited.

Many staff couldn’t recall the last time that learning from incidents had been shared across the organisation. They were unclear how this would be done. Of the 134 firefighters or specialist support staff who responded to our staff survey, around one quarter were not confident that the service listens to their feedback about operational incidents. Despite this, over three-quarters felt that the service takes action as a result of operational learning. We did see an example of an operational bulletin recently issued. It highlighted a concern about the use of safety jets at incidents.

The service has an effective incident-monitoring process. A member of the Ops Assurance team is mobilised to incidents as a ‘critical friend’. Similar monitoring also takes place if a more senior officer attends but does not take over command of the incident.

The service maintains a database to evaluate operational learning from regional and national incidents. The service risk-rates incidents. It then develops an action plan to make any changes necessary to its internal operational procedures.

5

How effective is the FRS at responding to national risks?

Good

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to national risks. But we found the following areas in which it needs to improve:

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure its firefighters have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information. This should include cross-border risk information.
  • The service should arrange a programme of over-the-border exercises, sharing the learning from these exercises.
  • The service should ensure it is well prepared to form part of a multi-agency response to a terrorist-related incident, and that its procedures for responding are understood by all staff and are well tested.

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).

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Preparedness

The service has good arrangements to supplement resources in the event of a major incident or other extraordinary need including flood. The service has well-developed response plans for different areas of water in the event of floods. These include arrangements for mobilisation of multi-agency resources and national assets. Staff demonstrated a good understanding of what would constitute a major incident. They understand their responsibilities and how to request additional resources, including national assets, when required.

The service has well-established response plans for high-risk premises, including upper and lower-tier control of major accident hazards sites.

Working with other services

The service has mutual aid arrangements with its neighbouring services to support an effective cross-border operational response. But we saw evidence that cross-border exercises were infrequent. When a cross-border exercise had taken place, we saw evidence of the effective sharing of learning between services. This resulted in both services updating their procedures.

Staff were unable to consistently access cross-border risk information on mobile data terminals. They were unsure what information was available to them, or how it could be accessed at an incident or for training purposes. It was unclear to inspectors whether this was because information was not consistently available or whether staff were not familiar with how to access it.

Working with other agencies

The deputy chief fire officer chairs the NRF and other officers play active roles. This has resulted in effective working with multi-agency partners. It also ensures that the service plays a leading role in the planning and organising of joint training and exercises.

We saw evidence of a variety of multi-agency exercises taking place during 2018. These included rail crash, air crash, flooding and coastal pollution exercises. They were run as both table-top and physical exercises. They have also tested the setting up and running of strategic and tactical co-ordination groups that deal with both emergency and recovery phases of incidents. Further exercises are planned for 2019 and 2020.

2018 also saw multi-agency response plans tested in response to live incidents. These were consequences of the cold weather during the ‘beast from the east’ and then the dry summer.

Incident commanders demonstrated good knowledge and understanding of Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Principles.

The service is well prepared to provide a specialist response to a terrorist attack. It has done several exercises and trained fire control, urban search and rescue staff and national inter-agency liaison officers. The knowledge and understanding of this type of incident among staff who would carry out non-specialist roles are inconsistent. Inspectors found some firefighters to have good knowledge, but others are unclear of their role at such incidents. The service acknowledged this and confirmed that new guidance covering non-specialist roles will be issued within the next few months. We found that fire control staff are well prepared to deal with calls to this type of incident. But they do not provide any safety advice to callers reporting such incidents – for example, ‘Run, Hide, Tell’.