The publication of the first four Fire Standards on https://www.firestandards.org/approved- standards/ is a monumental achievement for the sector. These standards and those that follow will form the basis of future inspection judgements by the HMICFRS.
Suzanne McCarthy, Chair of the Fire Standards Board (FSB), commenting on the publication of the first standards, said, “These Fire Standards are the first of a suite of standards that the Fire Standards Board will be publishing, which will cover activities carried out by fire and rescue services. The aim of these organisational standards is to drive improvement and enhance professionalism, helping to identify what good practice looks like for the benefit of both fire and rescue service personnel and the communities they serve.”
Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said, “I am delighted that the first Fire Standards for England’s fire and rescue services have been published. I want to thank all Fire Standards Board Members who contributed to developing this best practice. I look forward to seeing the Fire Standards being used by colleagues across the country to drive the high levels of professionalism and consistency the public expect from their Fire and Rescue Services.”
These first Fire Standards relate to the services’ public facing duties. Each identifies the desired outcome for the community, what services must have in place to achieve that outcome and the expected benefits of achieving it.
- Emergency Response Driving
- Operational Response: including Operational Preparedness; Operational Competence; and Operational Learning.
Now the standards have been published, Suzanne McCarthy, FSB Chair calls upon the services to begin implementing them.
Roy Wilsher, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), said, “We hope that many services will be closer to achieving them than they think. Yet, wherever services are on the journey, the NFCC aims to do all it can to support services in achieving them.
“Much of our work involves developing the national guidance that underpins the Fire Standards, such as the NFCC Emergency Response Driver and Instructor Framework that underpins the Emergency Response Driving Fire Standard; or the National Operational Guidance that is at the heart of the Operational Response Standards. In response to services’ requests, we have produced an online operational response guide which is available at http://www.ukfrs.com. This will help services with the implementation of National Operational Guidance and in turn achieve the Fire Standards.”
Other Fire Standards are on the way, including the Community Risk Management Planning Fire Standard and the Code of Ethics Fire Standard both planned for launch in the Spring.
As is the intention with all Fire Standards, they are principle-based rather than prescriptive. This is an issue Julia Mulligan, Ethics Lead for the National Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and also the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, raises, “It is extremely exciting to know that with their introduction we can aspire to greater commonality and accountability within the fire and rescue services in England, whilst still allowing for individuality around demographics and geographics. I am looking forward to seeing the benefits that services, individual firefighters and their community get from achieving these standards. It is wonderful for the services to have a benchmark to aim towards and hopefully surpass.”
The Fire Standards Board is proud of the fact the Fire Standards have been developed by the services for the services, and encourages all services and their employees to learn more and keep abreast of developments through the many channels available.
The approved Fire Standards, latest news and access to consultations on future standards will all be available on www.firestandards.org. The Board welcomes all stakeholders to take part in these consultations as and when they take place.