Category

National/International

Emergency Services Day

A photograph of the Book of Remembrance located at West Midlands Fire Service HQ

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) staff, volunteers and visitors will fall silent for two minutes at 9am on 9 September in memory of emergency services friends and colleagues who have died as a result of their duties.

The tribute, coinciding with the start of the second annual Emergency Services Day (ESD), will be followed by the raising of ESD flags outside WMFS buildings.  

Emergency Services Day Flag flying

A series of events will also be taking place across the UK in the lead up to ESD, including a national festival of thanksgiving which this year is being held in Edinburgh.

The commemorations are coordinated by the National Emergency Services Memorial charity which is aiming to raise at least £3m to fund the first national 999 cenotaph.

The WMFS ‘Roll of Honour’ contains the names of ten serving personnel who died during the course of their duties.

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Our Chief Fire Officer, Phil Loach, said: “The ten names on the West Midlands Fire Service roll of honour is our way of, every day, keeping alive the memory of colleagues who paid the ultimate price of being a firefighter. The risk of being confronted with life-threatening danger is an ever-present part of the role.

“The health and safety of our well-equipped crews is paramount. Firefighter safety is at the heart of our training and operational procedures. It enables us to be assertive when saving lives and reducing damage from fires and other incidents. We are acutely mindful of the risks whenever we respond to any incident that threatens life or property.

“Emergency Services Day gives us an additional opportunity to remember those we have lost. It is also a day to celebrate the amazing work of all our colleagues and volunteers throughout our service, and I want to thank them and their families for their support.”

Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “At 9am on the ninth day of the ninth month we will join together to remember all those we have lost from the emergency services family.

“Emergency Services Day is also a time to pay tribute to our firefighters’ courage, compassion, skills and professionalism. The roles of modern-day firefighters and our support staff are incredibly varied. They deliver outstanding service, time and time again.”

You can find out more about Emergency Services Day at www.999day.org.uk

WMFS supports sprinkler fitting

A photo of a sprinkler on a ceiling

WMFS joins the calls to fit sprinklers in new homes.

West Midlands Fire Service is supporting work which will see sprinklers being fitted in tower blocks across the region. Sprinkler systems can save lives while protecting properties; people have a much higher chance of surviving a fire in the home where sprinklers are fitted.

A photo of a sprinkler on a ceiling

WMFS is pleased to see the decision taken by several West Midlands local authorities to retrofit sprinklers across their high-rise tower blocks. Sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire service arrives.

Birmingham City Council has been very proactive and there is a three-year program in place to retrofit sprinklers to all their high rise dwellings, with a number of buildings already completed.

The support coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the Lakanal house fire where six people tragically lost their lives. At the inquest, the coroner recommended a number of measures, including better fire safety information for people living in high-rise buildings and encouraging ‘retro-fitting’ of sprinklers in tower blocks.

Research carried out by National Fire Chiefs Council shows that sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions and help keep people safer in their homes – and in converted and purpose built flats, sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires.

WMFS would also like to see legislation in England brought into line with Scotland and Wales, where more stringent legislation is already in place. In Scotland, all new enclosed shopping centres, residential care buildings, high-rise domestic buildings above 18 metres, sheltered housing complexes, schools, and some warehouses must be fitted with sprinkler systems. In Wales, it is law that all new residential premises – including care premises – are fitted with sprinklers.

Area Commander Steve Taylor, SET for protection

Steve Taylor Strategic Enabler for Protection said: “Sprinklers are invaluable; they save lives and reduce injuries, protect firefighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.

We will continue to support and work closely with Local Authorities and welcomes the choice that some Authorities have taken to retrofit sprinklers to their residential properties.”

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