«Fire Safety Policy Fire Safety Strategy West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Oakroyd Hall Birkenshaw Bradford BD11 2DY Date Issued: 01/04/2013 Review ...»
Partnership Strategy The Authority‟s Service Plan provides details of what WYFRS intend to do over the forthcoming years to meet the challenging needs and risks within our communities. Achievement of this plan will be through risk based planning and ensuring prevention strategies are effective and delivered to the right areas. It is essential for us to work with a wide range of external agencies and organisations to be able to effectively identify and locate those who are vulnerable to fire and deliver against these priorities.
The Partnership Strategy supports the overall Prevention and HFSC Strategy and adopts a target based approach, focusing on individual and geographical risk, identification of those most at risk with the view of generating referrals and reducing risk to the maximum extent within those households.
The Partnership Strategy supports the Service Plan in areas where there is planned change in service delivery, for example a change in response provision or station move through the IRMP.
Essentially partnerships do one of two things; they either provide referrals in relation to high risk individuals (referral partnerships), or they actually deliver activities on behalf of WYFRS, such as HFSC carried out by voluntary agencies (delivery partnerships).
Due to the nature of partners and their relative governance structures, it has been necessary to
adopt two styles of partnership:
Formal partnerships Friendship schemes Formal Partnerships Formal partnerships tend to be instituted with larger more established agencies or organisations, such as Local Authorities, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and large volunteer organisations. It should be noted that the Fire Authority is a statutory member of local Crime and Disorder Partnerships (which are known in each District by a range of names).
Page 24 of 38 One theme of the partnership strategy is to focus on vulnerable individuals and generate quality targeted referrals, supporting the points based strategy in identification of those in greater need of our service and reducing risk amongst West Yorkshire‟s most vulnerable households. This enables the Fire Prevention Team to deliver enhanced HFSCs for these identified vulnerable individuals; provide appropriate and tailored education, advice and interventions.
The Fire Prevention Team support Districts in the development of joint ways of working with agencies to reduce the impact on resources within the service, and therefore continue to provide the service externally to communities.
Volunteer partnerships provide WYFRS with the opportunity to work in areas classed as low risk through the IRMP and still provide quality fire safety education to households in these communities. Volunteers are trained by Prevention trainers to be able to fully carry out a HFSC on behalf of WYFRS.
Targeting partnership activity appropriately is key to ensuring WYFRS continue to deliver an effective and efficient service. WYFRS efforts are targeted at those individuals or groups that are deemed high risk, or in areas identified to be at greater risk and this philosophy is an equally important aspect of partnership working.
Fire Prevention provides support to District and local priorities by developing or supporting the development of specific partnerships; providing specialist skills, knowledge and experience or developing resource or educational packages required for targeting individuals or groups. These
The Partnership Board provides an arena to discuss and share ideas and the different challenges being experienced within each district, in addition to ensuring performance of partnerships is managed and they continue to focus on targeting vulnerable individuals and achieving HFSC Strategy and Service Plan objectives.
In order to support the principles of partnership working, the following methodology is applied:
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1. Plan a way forward a. Identify what you want to achieve, with a shared understanding of why and agreement over the issues to be addressed b. Decide on the most appropriate spatial level and what will work in different circumstances and areas c. Decide on who should contribute (including possibly the public) d. Develop a plan
2. Get on and Do it
3. Review, perhaps with an overall light touch monitoring of the various programmes
4. Revise objectives or methods accordingly, sharing what works within agencies, across the partnership and more widely
5. Giving an account of the achievements and outcomes to stakeholders, including the public Partnerships must be able to evidence how they are contributing towards the achievement of the Service Plan, HFSC Strategy and District Risk Reduction Plans. It is therefore important to ensure all partnership activity is recorded. Partner organisations may also need to evidence how, by working in partnership, it is helping their organisation or agency to achieve their own performance targets and measures which they have in place.
The Prevention database enables feedback of all referrals made to WYFRS by the referring organisation, as well as, any interventions that are subsequently carried out.
A critical element of any formal partnership is the ability to leave the partnership if it is no longer providing the required outcomes, hence at development stage, an exit strategy will always be considered.
Formal partnerships are maintained on the Partnership Register, which is regularly updated and are overseen by the Policy, Partnership and Volunteering Supervisor. The review of partnerships is monitored through the Partnership Board and reported to Service Delivery Board.
The Friendship Scheme is a way to identify and target vulnerable members within our communities through a different informal partnership method. Friends can include local community groups, befriending schemes, local newsagent, corner shop or even the local offlicence and can be used as a method of identification of vulnerable individuals or households in areas classed as lower risk through IRMP. The likelihood is these groups have dealings with Page 26 of 38 individuals who may be at increased risk of fire and can make referrals to WYFRS to reduce the potential risk of fire.
Rather than signing up as a formal partnership, the „Friends‟ are given a friendship pack, which includes an informal signed agreement, guidance on what constituted an individual at greater risk of fire, and information on how to make a referral to WYFRS.
The advantages to signing up Friends of the Fire Service include;
Access to individuals who may otherwise not be identified or refer themselves Access to High Risk cases that may have not been recognised otherwise Lowers the risk of fire within areas covered by Friendships Educates people of the risk of fire and how to keep safe Builds up a good relationship between stations and local community groups Builds up a level of trust with local communities Enables community groups access to services they may not have known was available Promotes the work of the Fire Service within the community Whilst a relatively new phenomena, Friendship schemes are developing and demonstrating good return on investment.
Arson Reduction Strategy Deliberate fires constitute the largest single cause of major fires in the United Kingdom. WYFRS statistics show that deliberate fires accounted for 73% of all fires attended by WYFRS over the 3 years from 2009/10 to 2011/12.
Deliberate fires impact directly on the residents and business owners whose properties are damaged or destroyed. Arson also indirectly affects communities by adversely impacting on the reputation and image of the area. Negative perceptions of an area gained by the constant visible aftermath of deliberate fires presents a barrier to inward investment, impacting on regeneration, businesses and housing stock.
WYFRS works with partners to reduce the incidence of deliberate fires by increasing awareness about consequences of criminal damage, malicious and hoax calls, arson and car crime. The aim is to reduce the potential of individuals becoming or remaining involved in such activities.
Arson reduction work within West Yorkshire is delivered in a number of ways depending on the precise issues of an individual case or in response to an increasing trend in particular locations.
Specific issues are dealt with through the use of a range of interventions, which include:
Page 27 of 38 Removal of Fly-tipping Days of Action Arson Threat Referrals / Target Hardening Securing Empty Properties
Removal of Fly-tipping
Fly-tipping ranges from small amounts of household rubbish in gardens to large quantities of commercial waste including tyres being dumped illegally. WYFRS has links with Environmental Action Teams, Local Authority cleansing departments and housing estate caretakers to ensure a fast removal of the waste. In areas where fly-tipping is a recurring problem, covert cameras have been installed in order to obtain prosecutions.
Fly Tipping will be dealt with at a local level and operational crews, Fire Prevention Assistants and Advisors will be vigilant during their community work utilising the links with external partners to ensure areas of concern are reported and action taken.
Days of Action Multi agency “Days of Action‟ have been well established in each of the five West Yorkshire local authorities. These operations have brought together the Fire and Rescue Service, Police, Housing, Community Safety, Anti- social Behaviour Units, Education Welfare, Environmental
Enforcement and Streetscene Services. The objectives of these operations are to:
Tackle priority crimes in the designated area.
Reduce incidents of anti- social behaviour.
Provide re-assurance to residents that their problems are recognised and being addressed.
Address underlying environmental issues.
WYFRS play an important role in these operations; this may include carrying out pre-operation educational talks within schools located in the target area or addressing local issues relating to deliberate fires. Local fire stations and Prevention Team also provide support in the form of Home Fire Safety Checks and leafleting. Days of Action continue to deliver immediate and short term results but may also provide longer term results which coincide with WYFRS priorities.
In a number of instances where a credible threat or significant risk of arson exist WYFRS have adopted a strategy of “target hardening” aimed at reducing that threat.
For domestic properties, where a credible threat of arson exists, referrals are accepted from West Yorkshire Police when approved by a Police Inspector and are submitted via a web referral. Should this warrant any target hardening intervention, a referral will then be submitted by the investigating police officer. WYFRS assist the police through this policy by providing an enhanced HFSC, giving tailored fire safety and arson reduction advice as well as installing specific protection measures.
For commercial or public buildings, Fire Protection Inspectors will consider areas of vulnerability of the particular premises and will provide advice to mitigate the threat as far as is possible.
Securing Empty Properties Empty properties quickly become a target for anti-social behaviour and often attract those engaged in drug taking and fire setting behaviour. Homeless people may also take up residence and be involved in unsafe heating and cooking practises. These insecure properties are often in a state of poor repair and present many operational fire fighting problems, including missing floorboards and deliberately set traps. It is essential that when any property, both residential and commercial, becomes unoccupied, that it is effectively secured as soon as possible.
Good links have been established with Environment Action Teams in order to identify property owners. Where owners cannot be identified or they are not co-operative, then properties can be secured by the Environmental Action Teams and recharged against the owner or the property.
This intervention if taken early can prevent a property becoming a nuisance to the Fire Service and a danger to the public. However it may be the case that priority should be given to those properties presenting the highest risk or creating recurring issues and mounting costs to the Fire and Rescue Service.
Empty properties will be dealt with at a local level and operational crews, Fire Prevention Assistants and Advisors will be vigilant during their community work utilising the links with external partners to ensure properties of concern are reported and action taken.
Following a fire in a residential area, an after-incident response or “Hot Strike” is undertaken within the local area in the hours and days immediately following the incident and may involve resources from the Fire Prevention Team to assist operational crews in covering a larger area.
This involves talking to residents, leafleting, carrying Home Fire Safety Checks and giving arson reduction and fire safety advice to households. The purpose of Hot Strike is to ensure that the impact the incident has had locally can be utilised to heighten the awareness of the danger of fire. This means targeting people who may not have been involved in the original fire, but who may have witnessed it or become aware of an incident in their local community Following a fire-related death, serious injury or serious near miss, a Serious Incident Review Panel (SIR) is in place to review and learn any lessons from the incident, and gives an opportunity for wider learning from accidental dwelling fires. Immediately following an incident, an interim meeting is convened to gather all immediate findings relating to the incident, to agree an action plan for managing the immediate impact and to ensure lessons learned are captured.
The process assists in delivering the risk reduction priorities of the Service Plan and District and Local Area Risk Reduction Plans. The SIR Panel then meets on a quarterly basis to consider the outcomes of all interim meetings in the previous quarter and to ensure that best practice is disseminated and lessons learned.