Celebrating a year of progress and working together to keep our communities safe
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s (ECFRS) Annual Report for 2019 – 2020 shows the Service is effectively managing risk, helping to prevent fires and harm in our communities and working together to protect the public.
Jo Turton, Chief Fire Officer / Chief Executive, said:
“2019/20 was a busy year and as an organisation we have made significant progress to support our people and keep our communities safe. Throughout the year our staff and volunteers have worked incredibly hard and show fantastic passion for their roles. As a result, we now have a stronger service, better able to work with partners and more focused on preventing harm happening in our communities.”
“Like all organisations, the Service has been tested by the global pandemic, but the professionalism of our teams has meant we were able to respond quickly and effectively. There has been no change to the way we respond to incidents, and keeping people who live, work and travel in Essex is, and will always be our priority.”
The report shows a strengthened service, delivering good value for money to the public and with clear committed leadership that has a good grip on the Service’s strengths and the areas where it needs to improve.
During the year the Service had its first inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue. They found that the Service was good at:
• Responding to fires and other emergencies
• Responding to national risks
• Making the fire and rescue service affordable now and in the future
• Managing performance and developing leaders
The Inspection report also highlighted where we still have more to do, in particular around protection, especially technical fire safety, prevention and above all getting the culture of the Service to where it needs to be, including better recruitment and retention of our on-call firefighters. These are areas where the Service is already taking actions to address.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said:
“The service has changed significantly during 2019-2020 and this progress has continued during 2020 and into 2021. Not only did the service receive a promising inspection report in 2019-2020 it has followed this up more recently with a glowing report from HMICFRS about its response to the global pandemic.
“The contribution the Service made during this time came from all levels of the organisation from the Chief Fire Officer, Deputy Chief Fire Officer and their senior leadership team to the many firefighters, staff and volunteers who saw the risk to our county and used their considerable skills and expertise to help keep us safe.
“This ability to continue to deliver an excellent Service, make a significant contribution to our county-wide response efforts and provide expert planning and leadership is what makes our Service so special.”
Highlights from the report include:
• Celebrating our people; from recognising those who have worked at ECFRS for up to an incredible 50 years and colleagues being honoured with various awards to welcoming and training new staff.
• Attending 15,033 incidents between April 2019 to March 2020; that’s down from 15,513 the previous year, with the total number of incidents attended by the Service decreasing consistently over the last four years.
• There being 4,580 fires attended in 2019/2020, that’s the lowest number attended per year since 2016/2017.
• Our teams carrying out 3000 home safety visits. These had a particular focus on residents aged over 65, people with a disability and adults living alone as data shows these groups are at the highest risk of dying in a fire.
• Conducting over 3,000 visits to people that live alone or have a disability. Reaching these communities is an incredibly important part of the work and service that we deliver, as we know that these people are at the highest risk of dying in a fire.
• Our joint education team engaged with 191,401 children across Essex.
• Our bespoke Firebreak courses being delivered to 269 participants with 87% completing their course. The Firebreak course is a targeted intervention for people aged 10-12, 13-17 and 18 onwards. They aim to promote a culture of safety by providing a range of vital and transferable life skills.