We continue to be an efficient and low cost service with an average running cost of £35 per head. We have already implemented around £3m of savings against our four year published Efficiency Plan, and with a further reduction in funding from government of £0.6 million an increase of four pence per week (for the average Band D household) in Council Tax is necessary and in line with inflation. We are confident that the increase will ensure that the safety of our residents and firefighters is not compromised and our journey towards our vision can continue.
The money is channelled into delivering our three priorities; education and engagement, community safety and wellbeing, and planning resilience and response. Underpinning all of these priorities is a commitment to collaborate with other organisations where there is an opportunity to provide a better or more efficient service to our communities.
Our mobile delivery model Safe+Sound brings workshops to local communities with the aim of helping keep them safe. We’ll be continuing to invite school children to our events at community fire stations and running over 60’s events. The development of immersive and interactive presentations is underway and these are set to be incorporated in to events later this year.
2018 saw the launch of our brand new Get Out - Stay Out campaign, which was about the dangers of attempting to tackle a fire yourself. We also relaunched our long running Flames Aren’t Games campaign during the heatwave in the Summer and refreshed the Fire Death Factors (SAME Again) campaign with fresh social media and video content during the Winter. During Spring 2019 Recipe for Disaster, our dedicated cooking safety campaign, will be launched and followed by other informative and educational campaigns.
The Service recently launched an app which can be downloaded on Apple and Android devices. The app offers many opportunities for people to engage with the Service with multiple areas of content and a new “faulty appliances” section being developed which will utilise augmented reality to help ensure people use electrical appliances safely, as well as maintaining and registering them.
This work aimed to improve the Service’s focus on key priorities and closer working between different departments. The redesign will improve the resourcing of Safe and Well visits, bring about more effective education of children and young people and use data to better target resources.
We know that communities change so it’s important for us to regularly review the people most at risk who are in need of our services. This works takes place throughout the year and continues to inform the way that our prevent teams target their work in the areas that need it most.
We’ll be continuing to progress our sprinkler programme which aims to fit automatic fire sprinklers in all of the residential buildings in our county with five or more storeys by 2026. This will increase the level of safety for residents and our firefighters responding to emergencies in these buildings.
The Service continues to invest in new fire fighting vehicles. The latest, new technology fire engines will be placed at stations across the county from March 2019. These fire engines are designed to carry more water and equipment than our conventional fire engines and will help to improve safety and efficiency on the incident ground. We are also investing in alternative off road, all-terrain vehicles to improve our response to wildfire incidents.
The Service has linked in with work by the National Fire Chief’s Council to prepare for the UK’s exit from the European Union. This work has focused on areas such as the supplier chain and our business continuity arrangements. The Service has used this information to help shape plans for Staffordshire whilst linking to the civil contingencies unit through the resilience forum arena.
New operational equipment such as Positive Pressure Ventilations Fans (PPV) and misting branches will be introduced into the Service and our firefighters will be trained in new firefighting tactics which will improve firefighter safety and operational performance.