Action – what we will do to reduce the risks faced by our communities

The following high-level actions will be undertaken to mitigate the risk anticipated by 2027 to better protect the public. These will be built into the annual planning cycles for each of the five years of our Community Risk Management Plan. In the section that follows, we link our activities to the risks identified earlier in the report.

As part of the annual budget setting process, areas for investment will be identified and given consideration by the Fire Authority. As well as setting the operating budget for the Service, the Authority also scrutinise the performance of the Service (For example decisions made in 2019 following a specific public consultation on the Service Delivery Operating Model).

Our priorities

The Authority agreed four strategic priorities which guide the Chief Fire Officer, Directors and Heads of Department in everything they do.

priority one

Priority one

Our targeted prevention and protection activities reduce the risks in our communities, improving health, safety and wellbeing, and supporting the local economy.

priority two

Priority two

Our operational resources provide an effective emergency response to meet the local and national risks identified in our Community Risk Management Plan. 

priority four

Priority four

We are open and accountable, using our resources efficiently to deliver an effective, sustainable service that demonstrates improving public value.

priority three

Priority three

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is recognised as a great place to work: our staff feel valued, supported, safe, and well-trained to deliver a high performing fire and rescue service.

Priority one

Our targeted prevention and protection activities reduce the risks in our communities, improve health, safety and wellbeing, and support the local economy.

    What we will continue to do

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    • Deliver home safety visits to those most at risk of fire, raising their awareness, developing escape plans, fitting smoke alarms and providing a range of other safety equipment including misting systems and sprinklers.
    • Engage with residents to provide prevention advice and education.
    • Work with partner organisations to raise awareness of the services we provide and reduce risks such as wildfire, road safety and fires on vessels.
    • Engage in national projects looking at changes to fire safety legislation to ensure we deliver a protection service that is aligned to changing national standards.
    • Work with business owners and responsible persons to ensure they comply with fire safety regulations by: 
      • carrying out fire safety checks and audits 
      • working with local authority partners and carrying out operational risk inspections at the highest risk sites
      • providing advice and guidance on the issues and measures they can take to prevent false alarms, During 2019/20 false alarms accounted for 38% of the incidents that we attended – having the potential to draw resources away from higher life risk incidents like fires and road traffic collisions
      • responding to concerns about fire safety in buildings from partner agencies, members of the public and operational firefighters.
    • Use a range of data to identify high risk and high priority buildings and to inform our risk-based inspection programme, improving the accuracy of the information used.
    • Address the risks identified following the Grenfell Tower fire. We formed a specialist high rise building team in 2020, working closely with partners in local authorities and other housing providers to improve safety in these buildings, such as promoting the use of sprinklers.
    • Continue to support national and local campaigns to raise awareness, provide advice and reduce risk.
    • Act as a key consultee in building regulations applications.

    What we plan to do

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    • Further define our community safety campaigns to make sure we have a clear annual set of campaigns to influence people to take safer actions to prevent incidents, promote home fire safety visits, reinforce the benefits of smoke detectors, domestic sprinklers, mist suppression systems, and provide advice about what to do during an incident.
    • Enhance our efforts to communicate road safety messages to those most at risk to reduce death and injury.
    • Review the effectiveness of our road safety education events and initiatives, delivered across Devon and Somerset in collaboration with partners including Learn to Live, Survive the Drive, Biker Down and My Red Thumb.
    • Increase communication campaigns to educate building owners about the impact of false alarms on the fire service and their business.
    • Work with those who are responsible for flood defence planning to support flood prevention efforts using our experience in responding to water rescue and flood incidents.
    • Engage closely with planning authorities to ensure that the housing growth includes domestic sprinklers or/water mist suppression systems in high-risk housing to ensure that these buildings are safer for people.
    • Improve our use of data and intelligence to target those people most at risk of fire more effectively. 
    • Improve our learning from serious incidents to identify how we can improve our prevention and protection work.
    • Increase our work with partners to help communities prepare themselves for major emergencies and severe weather events, by providing training and storage for equipment.
    • We will prepare for the impact of climate change on our communities (for example wildfire and flooding) and work with partners to reduce the impact.

    Proposed actions against identified risks

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    Proposed action Identified risks
    1.1 Further define our community safety campaigns to make sure we have a clear annual set of campaigns to influence
    people taking safer actions to prevent incidents, promote
    home fire safety visits, reinforce the benefits of smoke
    detectors, domestic sprinkler and mist suppression systems,
    and to provide advice about what to do during an incident.
    • Dwelling fires
    • Heritage property fires
    1.2 Enhance our efforts to communicate road safety messages to those most at risk to reduce death and injury.
    • Road traffic collisions
    1.3 Review the effectiveness of our road safety education events and initiatives, delivered across Devon and Somerset in collaboration with partners including Learn to Live, Survive the Drive, Biker Down and My Red Thumb.
    • Road traffic collisions
    1.4 Increase communication campaigns to educate building owners about the impact of false alarms on the fire service and their business.
    • Hospitals and residential care homes
    • Hotels and guest houses
    • False alarms
    1.5 Work with those who are responsible for flood defence planning to support flood prevention effort using our experience in responding to water rescue and flood incidents.
    • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
    1.6 Engage closely with planning authorities to ensure that the housing growth includes domestic sprinklers or/water mist suppression systems in high risk housing to ensure that these buildings are safer for people.
    • Dwelling fires
    • High-rise buildings
    • Heritage property fires
       
    1.7 Improve our use of data and intelligence to more effectively target those people most at risk of fire. 
    • Dwelling fires
    • Large commercial, industrial and agricultural fires
    • Hospitals and residential care home fires
    • Heritage property fires
    • Fires in hotels and guest houses
    • Secondary fires
    • Fires on-board vessels
    • Hazardous materials sites and incidents (including responding to  collapsed structures and bomb or terrorist attacks)
    1.8 Improve our learning from serious incidents to identify how we can improve our prevention and protection work.
    • Dwelling fires
    • Large commercial, industrial and agricultural fires
    • Hospitals and residential care homes
    • Heritage property fires
    • Hotels and guest houses
    • Hazardous materials sites and incidents (including responding to collapsed structures and bomb or terrorist attacks)
    1.9 Increase our work with partners to help communities prepare themselves for severe weather events, by providing training and storage for equipment. 
    • Major emergencies 
    • Resilience and business continuity 
    • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue 
    1.10 We will prepare for the impact of climate change on our communities (for example wildfire and flooding) and work with partners to reduce the impact. 
    • Secondary fires
    • Rescues from water 

     

    Priority two

    Our operational resources provide an effective emergency response to meet the local and national risks identified in this plan.

    What we will continue to do

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    • Ensure we have the right fire engines and equipment in the right place at the right time to match the risks faced by communities.
    • Develop tactical plans specific to individual sites, which set out the right number and type of operational resource (such as water supplies), salvage plans and how we work with the owner (or custodian) and other emergency services to deal effectively with the incident.
    • Invest in our fleet and equipment strategy ensuring that our fire engines, special appliances and equipment meet modern standards for efficiency and meet the risks identified in communities.
    • Invest in our information and communications technology to ensure we are able to support the delivery of front line services.
    • Increase our work with partners to provide life-saving water safety equipment at locations with a high number of drownings, similar to the work carried out at Exeter Quay in 2021 to provide reach poles and throw lines.
    • Work with partners in local resilience forums to plan and co-ordinate multi-agency responses to major incidents, severe weather and national emergencies
    • Have a working at height and confined space capability at key stations located across our Service area.
    • Continually review operational procedures in line with national guidance and best practice to improve and refine our response to commercial, industrial and agricultural fires.
    • Develop our team of hazardous material and environmental protection advisers ensuring that they are trained and equipped to identify hazardous materials present at incidents, assess the risk posed by those materials and advise the incident commander.
    • Investigate fires to identify probable causes and support police where arson is suspected.
    • Support the provision of high volume pumping equipment for use in local and national flooding.
    • Support the National Resilience Capabilities Programme which can provide support across the country in the case of a national emergency.
    • Provide emergency medical response in support of the ambulance service to communities through our co-responding stations.
    • Improve our operational assurance process to ensure that we learn from incidents and continue to improve.

    What we plan to do

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    • Use our new Management of Risk Information system to better provide accurate, relevant and timely information to operational crews responding to incidents.
    • Review the location and type of specialist appliances, equipment and capabilities to ensure that resources are matched and prioritised to risk, and to explore opportunities for collaboration.
    • Review specialist vehicles and equipment used at road traffic collisions to ensure that we have the right capability and are in the right locations to provide an effective operational response.
    • Improve our off-road capacity by introducing all-terrain vehicles with firefighting capability.
    • Review the use of environmental protection units at incidents involving hazardous materials and chemical spillages to ensure that they are correctly located and provide the capability needed to deal with incidents effectively.
    • Review how we respond to gaining entry requests in support of the police and ambulance service to ensure that we are providing this service efficiently.
    • Review how we assist the ambulance service to move extremely overweight patients in emergency situations to ensure the best use of resources and the best outcome for patients.
    • Review and introduce new capabilities to deal with incidents in high-rise buildings. For example the smoke hoods we now carry on our fire engines to assist evacuation in smoke-filled escape routes.
    • Review our flood response capability to ensure that our resources are matched to risk and need.

    Proposed actions against identified risks

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    Proposed action Identified risks
    2.1 Use our new Management of Risk Information (MORI) system to better provide accurate, relevant and timely information to operational crews responding to incidents.
    • Dwelling fires
    • High-rise buildings
    • Large commercial, industrial and agricultural fires
    • Hospitals and residential care home fires
    • Heritage property fires
    • Fires in hotels and guest houses
    • Secondary fires
    • Fires on-board vessels
    • False alarms
    • Road traffic collisions 
    • Rescues from height and confined space
    • Rescues from water
    • Animal rescues
    • Hazardous materials sites and incidents (including responding to collapsed structures and bomb or terrorist attacks)
    • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
    • Major emergencies / Resilience and business continuity
    • Medical response and health-related incidents
    2.2 Review the location and type of specialist appliances, equipment and capabilities to ensure that resources are matched and prioritised to risk, and to explore opportunities for collaboration.
    • Rescues from height and confined space
    • Rescues from water
    • Animal rescues
    2.3 Review specialist vehicles and equipment used at road traffic collisions to ensure that we have the right capability and are in the right locations right locations to provide an effective operational response.
    • Road traffic collisions
    2.4 Improve our off-road capacity by introducing all-terrain vehicles with firefighting capability.
    • Secondary fires
    • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
       
    2.5 Review the use of environmental protection units (EPUs) at incidents involving hazardous materials and chemical spillages to ensure that they are correctly located and provide the capability needed to deal with incidents effectively.
    • Hazardous materials sites and incidents (including responding to collapsed structures and bomb or terrorist attacks)
    • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
    2.6 Review how we respond to gaining entry requests in support of the police and ambulance service to ensure that we are providing this service efficiently.
    • Medical response and health-related incidents
    2.7 Review how we assist the ambulance service to move extremely overweight patients in emergency situations to ensure the best use of resources and the best outcome for patients.
    • Medical response and health-related incidents
    2.8 Review and introduce new capabilities to deal with incidents in high-rise buildings. For example the smoke hoods we now carry on our fire engines to assist evacuation in smoke-filled escape routes.
    • High-rise buildings
    • Fires in hotels and guest houses
    2.9 Review our flood response capability to ensure that our resources are matched to risk and need.
    • Rescues from water
    • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
       

     

    Priority three

    Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is recognised as a great place to work: our staff feel valued, supported, safe, and well-trained to deliver a high performing fire and rescue service.

      What we will continue to do

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      • Improve staff safety through continuous improvement.
      • Provide staff with access to counselling and mental health support services.
      • Carry out operational exercises to ensure that our staff are familiar with the risks and are able to practice procedures.
      • Develop and train specialist responders for terrorist incidents.
      • Train and exercise our operational crews and commanders to deal with large scale multi-agency incidents using the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) principles.
      • Develop our specialist officers (water incident managers) trained to deal with flood incident management.
      • Carry out exercises to test our business continuity plans.

      What we plan to do

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      • Further develop our occupational health screening to support the wellbeing of staff.
      • Further develop our defusing service, which helps staff to mentally recover from traumatic incidents, to cover suicide-related incidents.
      • Evaluate the training of operational crews, who have an identified risk in their area, in maritime firefighting techniques and procedures.
      • We will enhance our ‘Safe to’ approach to encourage psychological safety so that we can learn from our experiences and generate a culture of constructive challenge at all levels.
      • Review, update and improve policies, procedures, training, specialist advice and equipment to support operational crews in successfully resolving hazardous materials incidents.
      • Create a more diverse workforce and engage communities to help us do this.
      • Develop our next people strategy to support and develop our workforce.

      Proposed actions against identified risks

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      Proposed actions Identified risks
      3.1 Provide occupational health screening and defusing to support the wellbeing of staff who have been involved in traumatic incidents.
      • Medical response and health-related incidents
      3.2 Further develop our defusing service, which helps staff to mentally recover from traumatic incidents, to cover suicide-related incidents.
      • Medical response and health-related incidents
      3.3 Evaluate the training of operational crews, who have an identified risk in their area, in maritime firefighting techniques and procedures.
      • Fires on-board vessels
      3.4 We will enhance our ‘Safe to’ approach to encourage psychological safety so that we can learn from our experiences and generate a culture of constructive challenge at all levels.
      • Medical response and health-related incidents

      3.5 Review, update and improve policies, procedures, training, specialist advice and equipment to support operational crews in successfully resolving hazardous materials incidents.

      • Hazardous materials sites and incidents (including responding to collapsed structures and bomb or terrorist attacks)
      3.6 Create a more diverse workforce and engage communities to help us do this.
      • Dwelling fires
      3.7 Develop our next people strategy to support us.
      • Major emergencies 
      • Resilience and business continuity 

       

      Priority four

      We are open and accountable, using our resources efficiently to deliver an effective, sustainable service that demonstrates improving public value.

        What we will continue to do

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        • Work in collaboration with partners in other public sector organisations and neighbouring services, to address multiple risks across legislative boundaries.
        • We will continue to carry out operational risk inspections at the highest risk sites up to 15km cross-border].
        • Tailor our approach to enable us to identify those most in need of our support and to deliver services that meet their needs effectively.
        • Work in partnership with neighbouring fire services to cope with high numbers of calls during extreme flooding events.
        • Continually review our business continuity plans to ensure minimum impact on the delivery of our services should a business continuity event happen.

        What we plan to do

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        • In addition to preparing for the community impact of climate change (such as wildfires or flooding), we will minimise our own impact. Our Environmental Strategy sets out how we plan to reduce our impact on the environment. We aim to reduce our impact on the environment and deliver efficiency savings from improved practices.
        • Invest in our estate ensuring that our buildings meet modern standards for energy efficiency and have suitable training facilities for operational crews to maintain their competence.
        • Capture more data to inform our learning, enabling us to consider the impact on individuals and communities and to refine the range and depth of our services.
        • Engage more with community groups, businesses and through established networks. We will carry out effective and meaningful engagement activities with our staff, partners, wider stakeholders and communities by offering a range of opportunities for them to get actively involved, have their say and work with us to help shape and improve the service we provide.
        • Increase our focus on equality of access to our services, recognising the diversity of our communities.
        • Share resources widely with emergency, local authority and public health partners and seek to learn from commercial partners.
        • Following repeated attendance at false alarms, we will explore options to reduce the costs to the Service.
        • We will review and evaluate our approach to reducing false alarms.

        Proposed actions against identified risks

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        Proposed action Identified risks
        4.1 In addition to preparing for the community impact of climate change (wildfires/flooding etc.), we will minimise our own impact. Our Environmental Strategy sets out how we plan to reduce our impact on the environment. We aim to reduce our impact on the environment and deliver efficiency savings from improved practices.
        • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
        4.2 Invest in our estate ensuring that our buildings meet modern standards for energy efficiency and have suitable training facilities for operational crews to maintain their competence.
        • Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
        4.3 Capture more data to inform our learning, enabling us to consider the impact on individuals and communities and to refine the range and depth of our services.
        • Major emergencies / Resilience and business continuity
        4.4 Engage more with community groups, businesses and through established networks. We will carry out effective and meaningful engagement activities with our staff, partners, wider stakeholders and communities by offering a range of opportunities for them to get actively involved, have their say and work with us to help shape and improve the service we provide.
        • Dwelling fires
        • High-rise building fires
        4.5 Increase our focus on equality of access to our services, recognising the diversity of our communities.
        • Dwelling fires
        4.6 Share resources widely with emergency, local authority and public health partners and seek to learn from commercial partners.
        • Large commercial, industrial and agricultural fires
        4.7 Following repeated attendance at unwanted fire alarms, we will explore options to reduce the costs to the Service.
        • False alarms
        4.8 We will review and evaluate our approach to reducing unwanted fire alarms.
        • False alarms

         

        Measuring and evaluating impact

        The Service provides performance information on our website and Authority committees scrutinise performance as does the fire service inspectorate (HMICFRS). We have also agreed an evaluation framework that is based on established good practice (College of Policing) and this is built into commissioning and portfolio management arrangements.

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