We work hard to identify and assess all foreseeable risks which our communities might face – from house fires and road traffic collisions, through to flooding and terrorism.
We use this information to shape our priorities and Service Delivery Model – how we use the resources we have to reduce risk and vulnerability in our communities.
Our planning looks ahead three years and factors in the views and needs of our communities, our staff and the many other organisations with which we work.
All fire and rescue services have a duty to do this, under the Fire and Rescue National Framework.
But it’s about much more than responding to 999 calls and emergencies.
Our prevention and protection activities are also key to making our communities safer, whether that’s at home, on the roads or in buildings where people work, live or visit.
Data drives more and more of our work to make the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.
It helps us to understand risks across the areas we serve. We use it to create our Community Risk Management Plan and three-year rolling strategy.
Now, you, our communities, can explore some of this data yourself in our new 'Risk Explorer' tool!
All you need to do is enter your postcode, then you can explore and interact with the same data we use! You'll be able to see incidents to which we’ve responded near you, our response times, and even the different levels of risk for various emergency types. There’s also lots of handy demographic info, and you can turn different data on and off.
To visit our risk explorer, click the button below, or visit https://riskexplorer.wmfs.net
Our planning never stops!
Our risk analysis and research provide the evidence which shapes our priorities, policies and objectives.
‘Our Plan’ clearly sets out our strategic priorities and objectives for reducing risk, across our prevention, protection and response services.
We use our risk analysis, research and ‘Our Plan’ to identify how we can deliver our services more effectively and efficiently to make the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier. Find out about Our Plan by clicking it below.
Our planning toolkit
We use data going back several years to understand which sections of our communities are most at risk from fire and other incidents. We work out where certain types of incidents happen most. We then map the West Midlands based on risk levels, to work out where to locate our resources and where to focus our prevention and protection activities.
We monitor trends in the types of incidents we attend, and when and where they happen.
This data helps us to spot potential opportunities to adapt our services, to allocate resources differently and to focus our interventions.
We keep up to date with studies and research taking place around the world and also commission our own. We apply our professional judgement, incorporate relevant findings into our own planning.
We keep a close eye on many external factors which might affect or influence how we deliver our strategy. These include social issues, technology, politics, the economy and environmental issues, as well as legal and ethical considerations.
Future forecasting helps us to look beyond our three-year planning cycle. For example, how might the population grow and change? What are the emerging social or health issues? And what can we learn from global risks, such as climate change or pandemics, or from unprecedented events and international emergencies?
We constantly assess whether the measures we have in place match events and incidents to which we’re likely to respond. Are we targeting our prevention activities where we need to? And, if the worst does happen, are our response arrangements and resources appropriate? This process allows us to identify any potential gaps and future development opportunities.
Our planning principles
The risks faced by our communities are always changing, so we need to keep evolving and adapting. But we always apply the following planning principles:
The projects outlined below have resulted from our latest review of our Community Risk Management Plan.
Many of the incidents to which we respond are of low risk - for example, a relatively minor traffic collision or outdoor fire - so we continue to review how many firefighters we send to such incidents, what resources they use and to explore new types of vehicles.
Following a successful trial period, a new approach was rolled out to 11 fire stations from April 2022. Risk-based crewing (RBC) allows our staff to use data together with their knowledge and experience to select the right number of crew to send to low-risk incidents.
Our priority for 2023/24 is to trial a more sustainable concept vehicle designed to tackle low-risk incidents as part of our blended fleet, allowing the wider roll-out of RBC.
As well as allowing us to better match our resources to risk, RBC reduces disruption for our staff, keeps more of our appliances ‘on the run’ and frees-up time for vital training, prevention activity and protection interventions.
Many of the AFA activations to which we respond are false alarms, so we’re continuing to look at how we gather more information at point of call to help us categorise and respond to them proportionately.
We want to ensure we only respond to AFAs when necessary, so we’re ready to respond to incidents that pose an immediate risk to life or property.
Where we do respond to an AFA, we want to utilise the flexibilities offered by our blended fleet to send a smaller vehicle with fewer staff.
This year we are focusing our attention on residential care homes, working with them to ensure we respond - but only when they need us.
This year is the last year of our current three-year CRMP, so we will be carrying out consultation to inform and shape our next which will come into effect in 2024. It will build on the priorities outlined above, and the projects that have already been developed, as well as new and emerging issues.
We have already identified a number of new areas which will likely form part of our next CMRP, including: