Risks identified in our Community Risk Management Plan

As a result of engaging and listening to the public, partners and our staff we have a much better understanding of the risks we need to manage. Like all fire and rescue services, we are required to look at the risks faced by our communities. This is so that we can make sure that we have the best plans in place to reduce the likelihood of those risks becoming incidents, while also having the right people, skills, equipment and tactics in place to respond if an incident happens.


People being rescued from the River Dart

Identified risks

The table below gives a summary of the risks we have identified through our data analysis, consultation and historical records.

Some of the main risks are shown below and more detail is provided on the following pages.

  • Fires
  • Road traffic collisions
  • Specialist rescues.

Full data for each risk is available in the Strategic Risk Analysis (PDF). If you require an accessible version of this document, please email comments@dsfire.gov.uk 

Core operational activities and statutory duties

Risk category Identified risks
  • Dwelling fires
  • High-rise buildings
  • Large commercial, industrial and agricultural fires
  • Hospitals and residential care homes
  • Hotels and guest houses
  • Heritage property fires
  • Secondary fires
  • Fires on-board vessels
  • False alarms
Transport Road traffic collisions 
Hazardous materials Hazardous materials sites and incidents (including responding to collapsed structures and bomb or terrorist attacks)
National risks
  • Major emergencies
  • Resilience and business continuity

Other operational duties

Risk category Identified risks
Specialist rescues
  • Rescues from height and confined space
  • Rescues from water
  • Animal rescues
Environment and climate change Severe weather events including flooding response and water rescue
Health and wellbeing Medical response and health-related incidents 

How we will manage these risks

The main focus of this plan is to outline what the risk is to our communities and what our action is to mitigate that risk. Action is delivered through departmental and individual plans that have been aligned with our Priority 1 (prevention and protection) and Priority 2 (emergency response) activity. A series of charts on the following pages provide more detail on these risks.

Whilst the external risks are outlined in some detail within the plan, there are also some internal risks that we will need to continue to manage if we are able to respond effectively. For example, if our staff are not well trained or not provided with suitable equipment we will not be able to respond effectively. Similarly, if we have limited financial resources, we will need to continue to focus our resources on areas where this has the greatest impact. These risks are addressed in Priorities 3 and 4.

This draft Community Risk Management Plan provides a high-level overview of the risks and our main effort to reduce these.

Looking forward - future risk

We also recognise the need to identify emerging and future risks and trends across our communities and to our staff. For example, electric vehicles and potential ‘self-drive’ vehicles, domestic and commercial battery energy storage systems, biomass fuel plants and the government’s agenda for renewable energy, modern building construction methods, future pandemics and increasing use of e-cigarettes. To help us prepare we will link to national operational learning and review our position against national operational guidance.

We also recognise that risks may change following the Covid-19 pandemic, for instance due to a shift in people’s working arrangements. We will monitor this through our annual review of this plan and make arrangements to deal with new and emerging risks should they arise.

To help us prepare we will collaborate with other fire and rescue services, the National Fire Chiefs Council and other blue light partners.

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