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Firefighters Delivering Differently

In recent years Community Safety, Resilience and Development has changed significantly and so too have the expectations towards the Fire and Rescue Service. To approach and work with these changes Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) is redesigning the way in which it delivers community safety as well as the cultural attitudes towards this delivery.

The fire service has made extraordinary progress in the past 10 years in becoming the leading organisation in preventing demand for its services and enabling effective collaboration with local partners. These gains have, in the main, been centrally led, but regionally it is now generating a better understanding of the capabilities and assets within its communities, partnerships and station based personnel.

As part of a pilot scheme that ECFRS launched in August 2014 it recognised that the vulnerable people that it targeted for prevention activities, are also the focus of attention for many other service providers. As well as understanding how different individuals, community organisations and statutory providers can support ECFRS’ goals, there was an acknowledgement that some of the station based resources within ECFRS are under-used assets that could support increased prevention and support demand for other public sector providers.

The Firefighters Delivering Differently pilot began to map out community assets and identify opportunities for reciprocal services between ECFRS and other community service providers in two wards in Southend and Basildon and following DCLG funding was extended to Harlow and Thurrock in 2015.

Working with the four communities and the statutory partners within them such as Essex Police, NHS, District Councils and Unitary authorities, as well as charities, faith groups and local businesses, ECFRS built a picture of where it could support the community and where the community could support the fire service. This work concluded in providing a database of more than 100 ideas and community projects that would enable and support watches to deliver activities within their local community, whilst exploring for themselves the potential for community and voluntary organisations to play a more significant role in supporting the fire service’s prevention agenda.

Rolling Out Success

ECFRS has shown its firefighters that there are opportunities to collaborate with other service providers to support the same vulnerable people in Essex.

Achieving a detailed assets and spending map has revealed to all stakeholders that there are local resources that are underused in the delivery and / or demand reduction of public services and that the fire service has both resources and capacity which can be made available to improve community wellbeing and safety.

ECFRS, even at this early stage, recognise the value that the Firefighters Delivering Differently approach has delivered. The service has now made a commitment to roll out the approach and, it is ECFRS' intention that every permanently staffed station and six on call stations will be working on the Firefighters Delivering Differently project by May 2018, with a further 48 wards becoming involved over the following three years. This will mean working with 500 firefighters and supporting the most deprived communities in Essex with a combined population of over 500,000 people and cumulative public sector spend of over £1bn per annum.

As part of the countywide implementation Firefighters Delivering Differently ECFRS will:

  • Deliver safety messages to every school child in Essex
  • To ensure there is a working smoke alarm in 100% of households
  • To work with partner agencies in meeting other social needs of the vulnerable members of our communities
  • To work with drivers and riders to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.

Stations located in Harlow, Clacton, Basildon, Orsett, Brentwood, Southend and Leigh on Sea will be rolling out Firefighters Delivering Differently before the end of October 2017.

Last updated 01/09/17