Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards.
I’m delighted we’ve been shortlisted for these two awards. I am very proud of everything that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service does and this is down to our people and our culture.
The Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards are held by ‘Fire’ Magazine and recognise and celebrate the achievements of the emergency services in the last year. The Awards the Service has been shortlisted for are:
In addition Diane Dunlevey the Service’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager has been shortlisted for the Most Influential Woman in Fire Award.
Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant said: “I’m delighted we’ve been shortlisted for these two awards. I am very proud of everything that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service does and this is down to our people and our culture. We volunteered to be a part of a pilot to develop the new inspection regime so we have already had an inspection from the new body, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), earlier this year. The inspectors commented very favourably on our culture. We aspire to be a learning organisation so people are encouraged to share their ideas for improvement. In the Service it is important that we create an environment where people can speak up and use their problem solving skills.
“I’m also immensely proud of the way the Service responded to the extremely high demand over the summer period. We saw exceptionally high numbers of grass fires including significant blazes in the Moorlands such as the Roaches incident but everyone responded brilliantly. The extended heatwave meant that firefighters were dealing with the difficult conditions caused by the fires in baking summer heat. As an operational firefighter I know how hot and uncomfortable these types of incidents can be and it fills me with unbelievable pride to reflect on how our crews responded to such large incidents. At the same time, we had the tragedy at Westport Lake so our resources were extremely stretched.
“All this has been happening against a background of great change. Our governance has changed from being under the wing of the Fire and Rescue Authority to being the responsibility of the Staffordshire Commissioner. Whilst it has been a challenging 12 month period we worked to ensure that it was a seamless transition when the Commissioner took over in August.”
The Service Marketing and Communication team has also achieved success this year with two campaigns being singled out for mention in the widely distributed publication, PR Week. The Get Out, Stay Out ‘campaign featured a specially recorded version of the Willy Wonka Oompa Loompa song with lyrics adapted to communicate the get out, stay out message. The team also made use of hard-hitting CCTV footage which showed a woman re-entering her burning flat and the harrowing consequences to her. The annual Flames Aren’t Games campaign also featured a video made to appear like found footage. This campaign in particular made use of a number of channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to try to reach its intended audience which was young people and children.
When considering Staffordshire’s nomination for Emergency Service of the Year the judges also took into account the Services achievements in training and development. The service has supported the Firefighter Trailblazer apprenticeships which offer training to people wanting to join the fire service as firefighters. Successful apprentices gain a professional qualification recognised by the Fire Service. Not only has Staffordshire helped develop the course but is now the only service accredited by the Department for Education (DfE) as training provider for this qualification. The Service has also been accredited by the SFJ (Skills for Justice) for the Community Safety Practitioner qualification which all new recruits must obtain.
In addition, the Service was shortlisted for Partnership of the Year for its Community Sprinkler Project in Lichfield with central England housing provider Bromford. The project involved the installation of sprinklers (retro-fitting) at David Garrick Gardens in Lichfield. The first phase started in early 2016 in the two blocks which contain 63 flats.
Becci Bryant said: “The installation was part of a wider Community Sprinkler Project by the Service which identified 47 high rise buildings throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent which present a unique and difficult challenge to both fire fighters and members of the public should a fire occur. The aim is to encourage sprinkler systems to be fitted in these buildings to prevent any serious incidents arising, protecting the lives of residents and fire fighters and limiting the damage to the properties.”
Russ Fowler, Bromford’s director of commercial, said: “Thanks to our excellent relationship with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service we are able to continue making the very best decisions when it comes to the safety of people living in our homes. “The safety and security of our customers has always been Bromford’s number one priority and is something we review continuously, meaning this modernisation project was a complete no-brainer and it was a pleasure working with the expertise of the fire service throughout.”