ACTION PLAN
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1.
We will continue to offer Home Fire Risk Assessments and, where necessary, fit smoke alarms to all households in Merseyside as part of a completely free service. We aim to carry out 60,000 HFRAs each year.
2.
We aim to increase the percentage of smoke alarms which operate in accidental dwelling fires with a target of 60% in 2004/05.
3.
We will promote residential sprinklers as the ultimate fire safety measure and work with Government, local authorities, the sprinkler industry, developers and designers of buildings and other interested bodies to promote low cost, self-contained ‘first attack’ systems, including partial property protection, to achieve a far wider use of this safety system. We will continue to lobby the ODPM to influence the current review of the Building Regulations to include residential sprinklers.
4.
We will work with Local Education Authorities to promote school sprinklers as a cost effective risk reduction measure and we wish to achieve a commitment to have sprinklers in the design of two new schools in 2004/05.
5.
Through local initiatives and partnership working, we intend to gain access to the most hard to reach and vulnerable in the community, in particular, the older residents and those with physical and behavioural challenges. We will create more fire safety ‘advocates’ from within local communities to deliver a more flexible customer focused home safety strategy. They will be representative of a ‘target group’ by virtue of ethnicity, gender, age or other characteristics. Our target is 20 advocates by December 2004.
6.
We will deliver and extend our youth programmes designed to develop self-esteem and community awareness. These will be expanded by the introduction of a Young Firefighter Scheme.
7.
We will play an active role in the various local District and Merseyside partnerships where they are involved in community safety, including reducing levels of crime.
8.
We will develop a pan Merseyside approach to reducing the risk from abandoned vehicles.
9.
We will develop the partnership with our Police colleagues to create a Fire/Police Arson and Fire Investigation Protocol and develop partnership working at Headquarters and area level and devise common recording methods.
10.
With partners, we will develop a pan Merseyside approach to the boarding up of unoccupied properties and the removal of combustible materials.
11.
We will work closely with our Police colleagues on an area and Merseyside basis to predict patterns of arson, investigate them professionally and seek successful prosecutions where appropriate. We will also identify those properties most vulnerable to an arson attack and, with the responsible person(s), carry out a joint arson risk assessment. We will seek funding from Government and elsewhere to support the Authority’s arson objective and work with other youth agencies/bodies to influence young people on the dangers of arson (these include Youth Offending Teams, Youth Inclusion Programmes, alternative referral from the Courts and The Prince’s Trust Volunteers). Specifically we will continue to attempt to reduce the number of deliberate fires with the Government’s arson reduction target, of 10% reduction by 2010 from the 2001/02 baseline.
12.
We will build upon our active involvement on Crime & Disorder Reduction Panels and strengthen the Merseyside Arson Task Force, including the employment of “arson interventionists” to work at District Council level reducing the incidence of arson. We will also look at arson reduction from a regional perspective.
13.
We will offer those schools most in risk of an arson attack a specific arson risk assessment with a target of 10% of schools per District per year.
14.
We intend to increase the number of volunteers who are acting as “Friends of Merseyside Fire Service” to promote fire safety awareness within all sections of the community and extend the range of issues Friends are able to help us with. This expansion will demand a new relationship with voluntary sector partners.
15.
We will revise the role of fire safety inspecting officers as a result of the settlement of the national pay dispute that takes account of the integrated personal development system and changes in duty systems.
16.
We will look to introduce a third party accreditation scheme, for equipment, system installation and fire safety advice to support building owners and occupiers meet their fire safety responsibilities.
17. In conjunction with the Universities in Liverpool, we propose to establish a contestable research fund of £25,000 with the aim of encouraging academic research into fire related matters in Merseyside.
18. We will aim to reduce the number of deaths from accidental dwelling fires with a target of less than 10 fire deaths in the next year. This is double the Government’s target which is for a 20% reduction averaged over the 11 year period to 2010, compared to the average recorded in the five year period to 1999.
19. We will aim to reduce the number of injuries from accidental dwelling fires with a target of 12 (per 100,000 population) in 2004/05.
20. We aim to reduce the total number of calls to fires attended with a target of 145 (per 10,000 population) in 2004/05.
21. We aim to reduce the number of property and vehicle fires with a target of 55 (per 10,000 population) in 2004/05.
22. We aim to reduce the number of calls to accidental fires in dwellings with a target of 245 in 2004/05.
23. We will aim to decrease the number of malicious false alarms by at least 10% in 2004/05.
24. We will aim to decrease the number of false alarm calls due to automatic fire alarms with a target of 150 (per 1000 non-domestic properties) during 2004/05.
25. We will continue to work closely with building owners and occupiers and with the fire alarm companies, to make sure fire alarms are correctly installed and maintained and to develop good building management practice to reduce the number of unwanted false alarms. Where this fails, we will be prepared, where appropriate, to publicise the diversion of public resources and bring external pressure to bear to improve the management of their buildings.
26. We will work more closely with call receiving centres to encourage them to put in place some filtering and additional monitoring of AFA calls received in their centres.
27.

We propose to respond to alarms with automatic equipment in line with the risks they present. This means that we propose:
- to make no change to the current arrangements for responding to calls for assistance in domestic properties where a smoke detector is sounding;
- to mobilise two appliances under emergency conditions in response to all alarms from automatic equipment in all residential care homes (including sheltered accommodation);
- to mobilise one appliance, under emergency conditions, in response to an alarm with automatic equipment in all other types of building;
- to supplement this initial attendance by further fire engines or specialist appliances whenever the initial alarm is followed up by:-

  • additional alarms going off in the same building
  • supporting calls to the Service from people confirming a fire is suspected
  • a request from the officer in charge of the initial fire engine when it arrives
28. We will further develop our policy to challenge callers to our mobilising centre when there is reason to believe that the call may not be genuine.
29. We will introduce a protocol to not respond to abandoned calls from public phone boxes, unless there is a good reason to believe they may well be genuine.
30. We will develop a protocol with Transco, referring all calls to attend domestic gas leaks or carbon monoxide detectors to them to deal with.
31. We will combine our specialised capability at two operational resource centres. Proposals for locations are still to be finalised.
32. We will site a foam unit and bulk water carrier at alternative location(s), staffed on a flexible basis, the location(s) to be determined by risk assessment.
33. We will reduce the number of aerial appliances we maintain from 5 to 4. These pan Merseyside vehicles will be sited at Southport, City Centre, Eccleston and Birkenhead. This may involve the removal from service of the aerial appliance currently located at Croxteth, although we are considering the potential for alternative staffing of this vehicle.
34. We intend to replace two of the four aerial appliances with combined pump platform appliances and these will form an integral part of our aerial appliance capability. It is unlikely that these vehicles will be obtained until 2005/06. We intend to locate one of these CPP appliances in Southport. The location for the other is yet to be determined.
35. We intend, subject to the outcome of the public enquiry, to relocate our City Centre Fire Station from its current location at Canning Place to a new site at St. Anne Street, Liverpool.
36. We will actively seek further partnership opportunities based upon the approach utilised for City Centre Fire Station.
37. We will work with other partners to develop a strategy to reduce non-fire emergencies such as road traffic collisions, and how Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service could contribute in this area of reducing risk.
38. We will discuss with District Councils and Merseyside Police, the best arrangements for dealing with unsafe structures across Merseyside and to review our role in attending such incidents.
39. We will enter a partnership with the Heart of Mersey organisation with the aim of reducing the effects of coronary heart disease in Merseyside, in line with Government targets.
40. We will run a pilot scheme, at location(s) to be determined, in partnership with Mersey Regional Ambulance Service, where both services will co-respond to certain calls where someone is suspected of having a heart attack. Our firefighters will be equipped with defibrillators and be trained in their use. After 12 months, the pilot scheme will be reviewed to consider its success and whether it should be continued and extended to other areas of Merseyside.
41. We will develop protocols with District Councils and Housing Trusts with a view to reducing the number of non-life threatening incidents we attend.
42. We will establish a dedicated rescue team to ensure we meet the expanded role of the Service in respect of rescue from non-fire emergencies.
43. We will, following the conclusion of a full analysis of all incident attendance, establish response standards to life threatening non fire emergencies.
44. We will use the outcome of the risk assessment of the River Mersey to inform future response arrangements to the tidal River Mersey and use it to inform our response to other water rescue situations. We will provide training to our personnel to allow them to work safely on or near water during emergencies.
45. We will expand our training in urban search and rescue and will augment our current equipment with additional specialist equipment.
46. We will to produce a new risk map of Merseyside with areas categorised as high, medium or low risk. We will set new attendance times for these areas.
47. We will work with our colleagues in the Police and Ambulance Services to introduce a protocol to share the data we all maintain in respect of emergency incidents.
48. Pending production of the new risk map of Merseyside, we will send two fire engines to all confirmed domestic fires in areas classed as ‘C’ risk with the first engine arriving at the incident in 8 minutes and the second in 10 minutes. We aim to achieve this attendance time on at least 85% of occasions.
49. Pending production of the new risk map of Merseyside, we will send two fire engines to all confirmed domestic fires in areas classed as ‘D’ risk, with the first fire engine arriving at the incident in 10 minutes and the second in 12 minutes. We aim to achieve this attendance time on at least 85% of occasions.
50. Pending production of the new risk map of Merseyside in those areas currently classified as ‘A’ or ‘B’ risk, the attendance time for the first fire engine will be 5 minutes and the second within 8 minutes. We aim to achieve this attendance time at least 85% of occasions. Our policy will be to mobilise two pumps to current ‘A’ and ‘B’ risk.
51. Where it is reported that people are still inside the property, we will send three fire engines to the incident.
52. We will continue with the existing response of fire engines to all confirmed fires in commercial property and to achieve this response on at least 85% of occasions.
53. We will develop our RAPID system to further review appropriate response times and methods for the future.
54. Following our risk assessment, it is our intention to vary the number of appliances at any location according to the varying risk. We will, however, maintain a rescue pump at all of our 26 fire stations, 24 hours a day, but we will pilot the relocation of our support pumps during 2004/05 as determined by our on-going risk assessment work.
55. Based upon the evidence we have gathered already, the current provision of three full time fire engines at Southport Fire Station remains questionable. We will work with the community in Southport to explore ways in which the third pump can be staffed, flexibly on a local basis, using community resources.
56. Where an aerial appliance is required at an incident we aim, as an interim measure until the new risk map is finalised, for it to arrive within 10 minutes to high risk areas, within 15 minutes to commercial risk and within 20 minutes to other incidents. We aim to achieve this attendance time on at least 85% of occasions.
57. We are reviewing our approach to attendance at secondary fires and it is our intention to pilot the use of a targeted response vehicle (TRV). We will utilise the services of two four-wheel drive service vehicles currently available within the Service to provide a Merseyside-wide response to rubbish and other secondary fires, at peak times. These vehicles will be staffed on an overtime basis initially from 1600 – 2200 hrs each day, although these times may be subject to change.
58. We will form an Incident Command Team who will receive specific training in Incident Command and Rescue management and members of this team will attend and direct the Incident Command of any significant emergencies. This Team will also attend incidents to ensure officers managing emergency incidents have a clear framework in which to work.
59. We will complete incident investigations in accordance with Authority policies and we will produce reports of such investigations detailing underlying factors influencing fire ignition and spread (where these can be determined), including human behaviour, fire safety knowledge and exposure to fire safety messages. These reports will be verified as technically accurate by peer reviews and their results be made available to relevant organisations in appropriate circumstances where those results will help reduce the number of, and consequences from, similar incidents in the future.
60. We will further improve our services by gathering further information about every incident investigated by our Incident Investigation Team.
61. We will introduce additional vehicles and equipment to help us perform roles in connection to resilience but we will also use them as an integral part of our capability to provide assistance at a whole range of emergencies. This will be done as soon as the vehicles and equipment are available and the firefighters have received the appropriate training.
62. We will ensure our enforcement and inspection personnel are available to work with business on Merseyside at a time and in a flexible manner that suits the business community. To do this we will be introducing changed work patterns for some of our uniformed safety specialists.
63. We will extend the successful use of non-uniformed technical officers in our fire safety team which will open up opportunities for a wider group for the community to access careers in the Fire and Rescue Service, bringing with them the knowledge which will compliment the operational experience of uniformed fire officers.
64. We will revise the rank structure to reflect the core roles identified in the IPDS in relation to risk management.
65. We propose to consider development of local arrangements to make additional payments to recognise special skills which particular staff may develop.
66. We propose to develop options for more flexible working patterns for some firefighters, looking in particular at opportunities for part-time working, reduced commitment for some staff for night-time working, more flexible call out arrangements and arrangements where some staff may not be based at a single fire station but may move to different parts of Merseyside to address the particular risks faced by different communities.
67. We will develop and implement measures to secure a better work/life balance for our staff through family/friendly policies covering areas such as childcare, parental leave, job sharing, etc.
68. We will, after consultation with the trade unions, extend our existing arrangements for pre-arranged overtime to all firefighters, in appropriate circumstances, where this can help us to improve our services and reduce risk, in a cost effective way.
69. We will establish a Crew Level Maintenance team, made up of four watch based teams with the aim of ensuring the overall watch staffing levels are maintained at such a level that means we are able to provide an appropriate life-saving response on rescue pumps and on support pumps. On a single pump fire station this means five personnel on a rescue pump. On a multi pump fire station this means five on the rescue pump and four on the support pump, this to be achieved on 85% of occasions. Our minimum level would be four and four. This approach conforms to guidance from the Health & Safety Executive.
70. We will pilot the use of closed circuit TV on our fire engines as part of our approach to placing the safety of our personnel at the heart of our response and we will pursue strong action against any individual who acts in an aggressive manner to our personnel.
71. We will liaise with our neighbouring Fire Services of Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire to ensure that our Integrated Risk Management Plans have no detrimental impact upon cover provided to or by our neighbours, by reviewing and revising our Section 2 & 12 arrangements.
72. We intend to pilot the role of Station Locality Manager to improve performance on stations and to forge partnerships with District Councils and other local agencies.
73. We will create new arrangements with the voluntary sector.
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