A request asking for our pre-prepared press releases between March 16th 2015 and July 16th 2015.
West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 21st July 2015.
Please find below a summary of our findings.
Would you please provide all reactive or “if asked” press statements prepared by the service’s press office for possible issue to the media between March 16th 2015 and July 16th 2015?
Could these be provided in full and in the format they were prepared in a list. Where possible could the dates they were prepared be given.
We prepared two if-asked media statements in this period, both below.
The one relating to bullying was prepared in case we had enquiries about a national report on the subject.
The other was prepared after the Express and Star newspaper ran a story about supposed issues in our fire control, relating to callers’ accents/dialects.
Fire control statement:
A spokesperson from the shared Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control, said: “West Midlands and Staffordshire have a rich range of dialects. Our highly-trained staff are experts in quickly working with callers to get the information we need to deploy firefighters to emergencies.
“Our state-of-the-art command and control mobilising system complements the skills of our staff and enables caller location information, provided by our colleagues at BT, to support address identification with each caller.
“Detailed mapping systems allow us to pinpoint incident locations quickly and accurately. Our call-handling standards also require our staff to obtain a secondary location, to verify the address of each incident, to ensure that the right resources are mobilised to the right place at the right time.
“I am confident that there has been no detrimental impact on our ability to manage emergency 999 calls quickly and effectively as a result of dialect-related issues since go live of the shared Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control.”
Advice to people calling 999:
- try to stay calm and speak clearly
- operators will ask WHAT you’re reporting and WHERE it is
- be ready with the house number, road name and district
- the operator will also ask you if you know the name of a road which joins the one where the incident is
- even if it’s a fire outside, the number of the nearest house will still help
- the postcode’s useful if it’s a common name, like Church Road
- a landmark, like a big factory or a school, is good to mention
The better the information you give to Fire Control, the better the details they can pass on to the firefighters on their way. And if you’re struggling to explain things, they’ll work with you to get the information we need quickly. While the fire engines are on their way, the operator will give you really important safety advice.
We have a clear focus on providing a healthy and inclusive environment that reflects a modern fire and rescue service.
Our workforce is diverse, and all of our staff are required to undertake training in our Core Values and to adhere to them.
Our employees strive to uphold the highest professional standards, and we are fully committed to delivering Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality throughout the organisation.
Individuals and teams are actively encouraged to report and/or challenge any inappropriate behaviour.
We provide a range of initiatives and interventions that encourage individuals to contribute and feel supported in their roles. These include a women’s group, as well as race and disability groups. We provide peer support and coaching, and mentoring through a ‘buddy’ scheme. Courses promoting discussion around equality issues, personal and professional development, and enabling others, are also provided.
We are continually striving to improve our approach and are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures to support our staff. They, in turn, are actively encouraged to contribute to this ongoing process.
Complaints and the associated data are monitored, and reported to our Fire Authority throughout the year. We recorded 28 allegations relating to bullying and harassment during the four years from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014. All allegations are treated seriously, and are fully and appropriately investigated.
If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW
Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.