FOI19138 – High Rise

Ref: FOI/19138

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 9th October 2019.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

We are collecting information about what measures Fire and Rescue Services are taking to address the risk of serious compartmentation failure in high rise residential buildings (HRRBs) since the Grenfell Tower Fire of 14 June 2017.

Below is the information we would like to obtain from you under the Freedom of Information Act.

  1. Evacuation 
  2. Any evacuation plans, policies or procedures for HRRBs;
  3. Any actual or proposed amendments to existing evacuation plans, policies or procedures for HRRBs, since 14 June 2017.
  4. Any national guidance (since 14 June 2017) on the obligations, under the FSO, of the responsible person of a HRRB to devise an evacuation plan for residents in the event of  fire;
  5. Any national guidance (since 14 June 2017), to assist your FRS to devise an evacuation plan for a HRRB involved in fire?

Please provide electronic copies of relevant documentation (previous/new policies and/or evidence of proposed changes) 

Response

  1. Evacuation plans may exist attached to individual HRRBs as part of the West Midlands Fire Service Site Specific Risk Identification processbut these may not exist for every HRRB site. There are over 500 HRRB properties that would need to be manually checked and this would exceed the appropriate limit as defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Therefore this part of your request is refused under Section 12 of the FOIA . The permitted time is approximately 18.25 hours to gather the information or to confirm or deny that it is held. I have attached a Fees Notice as required in the FOIA and we can proceed with establishing whether we hold the information once this is paid.
  2. Evacuation plans may exist attached to individual HRRBs as part of the West Midlands Fire Service Site Specific Risk Identification processbut these may not exist for every HRRB site. There are over 500 HRRB properties that would need to be manually checked to ascertain whether they had been amended and this would exceed the appropriate limit as defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Therefore this part of your request is refused under Section 12 of the FOIA . The permitted time is approximately 18.25 hours to gather the information or to confirm or deny that it is held. I have attached a Fees Notice as required in the FOIA and we can proceed with establishing whether we hold the information once this is paid.
  3. Guidance has been published by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) and is available on their website at the link below. Therefore this information is exempt under Section 21 of the FOIA as it is reasonably available to you : https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Grenfell-Tower
  4. Guidance has been published by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) and is available on their website at the link below. Thereforethis information is exempt under Section 21 of the FOIA as it is reasonably available to you:

https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Grenfell-Tower

Request 2

  1. Pre-determined attendance (PDA)
  2. Your current PDA for fighting fires in HRRBs;
  3. Any actual or proposed amendments to your PDA for HRRBs, since 14 June 2017.

Please provide copies of relevant documentation (previous/new policies and/or evidence of proposed changes)

Response 2

West Midlands Fire Service uses dynamic risk assessment to mobilise resources to incidents based upon intelligence received throughout an incident. These decisions are based upon safe systems of work for firefighters and information gathered from other sources internal and external to the organisation. The level of response is adjusted to match the level of risk and in line with our Operational Risk Assessment.

Request 3

  1. Multiple FSGs
  2. Any operational policies/training for dealing with multiple fire survival guidance calls (FSGs)
  3. Any actual/proposed amendments to FSG policies/training, since 14 June 2017.

Please provide copies of relevant documentation (previous/new policies and/or evidence of proposed changes)

Response 3

Plans, policies and procedures in relation to FSG are continually under review as part of organisational assurance or in response to significant events. Stakeholders across the organisation, are consulted as part of this process.

The information within our plans, policies or procedures is designed predominantly to create safe systems of work that protect our firefighters and members of the community. Disclosure of information about detailed processes, procedures and techniques into the public domain may impede fire fighters when dealing with an incident. This could pose risk to firefighters and members of the community alike. Therefore this information is exempt under Section 38 of FOIA.

There is a public interest in ensuring that processes and procedures exist to protect firefighters and members of the community but this is not served by releasing detailed operational plans into the public domain.

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

19102 – Traffic calming measures

Ref: FOI/19102

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 7th August 2019

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

Birmingham City Council recently proposed a road safety intervention at a local junction due to accidents at that junction. The proposed intervention did not include any ‘vertical deflection’ traffic calming measures (e.g. speed cushions or a table-top at the junction) designed to slow traffic. Instead, it included a full set of traffic lights which would have, on the admission of the Council, attracted even more motor vehicle traffic onto unclassified residential roads.

When concerned local residents enquired with the Council why vertical deflection traffic calming measures were not proposed they informed us that as the road was a ‘blue route’ (priority route for emergency services) this was not an option. It later transpired that this policy only applies to Birmingham City Council’s relationship with the emergency services, and was not replicated anywhere else.

We are concerned that this policy may be endangering local residents unless it is supported by evidence demonstrating the benefits to emergency services outweigh the risks of people being hurt or killed by speeding traffic.

With reference to the above, please provide me:

A copy of any written policy that fits the description of the policy referred to above and/or any policy or position that references traffic calming measures.

Copies or references to all academic research and/or other evidence that you rely on in respect of your policies or position on traffic calming measures.

All records of the number of times you have been consulted on the design and implementation of traffic calming measures by Birmingham City Council since 2005, your response (with rationale and supporting evidence) to that consultation,  and any subsequent analysis of the impact of the  scheme (if realised) to the delivery of your services.

Any other policy position, paper, evidential basis and record that may influence or inform your hypothetical response to a proposal of vertical deflection traffic calming measures (e.g. speed cushions, table-tops etc) at the junction of Vicarage Road, Avenue Road and Abbots Road in the B14 area of Birmingham.

Reply

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) pride themselves in ‘Making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier’. Every day we are making a very real and positive difference – to people and families in our communities, to businesses and to visitors to the West Midlands.

Our prevention work focuses on reducing people’s vulnerability to the type of emergencies to which we respond. With one our Prevention priorities being;

fewer people will be killed or seriously injured on West Midlands roads and we will keep our transport networks moving, as we work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and other organisations to develop and deliver interventions that support the West Midlands Regional Road Safety Strategy.

WMFS are always consulted in the process of design and implementation of traffic calming measures by all Local Authorities forming the West Midlands. This consultation process offers WMFS to provide feedback around potential traffic calming measures however, as these measures are designed to reduce speed of traffic and therefore reduce injuries and accidents we are largely in favour of the proposed changes. These consolations are returned to the relevant Local Authority but are not held within our systems for future use.

WMFS do not have a policy to support or detail this process but we work closely with Local Authorities and partner agencies whilst utilising our incident data to identify accident ‘hot spots’ to focus our Prevention work to target our activity to both vulnerable areas and community demographics.

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.

19048 – Firefighter staffing levels

Ref: FOI/19048

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 11th April 2019

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

The total number of current vacancies for retained (part-time) personnel for your stations.

Reply

None – WMFS do not employ retained firefighters

Request

Which position has been advertised for the longest period of time? (Please give in days.)

Reply

N/A

Request

The current number of vacancies for full time (wholetime) personnel in your area for stations. Please detail which station.

Reply

Recruitment is carried out on an ongoing basis and is planned to maintain establishment levels.  Recruitment is for the West Midlands and not station based.

Request

Which position has been advertised for the longest period of time?

Reply

N/A

Request

On how many occasions, has a fire appliance been unavailable due to insufficient crewing levels? For each occasion, please provide the date, length of time the appliance was unavailable, type of appliance and the station it is based at.

Has your station been unable to attend incidents due to insufficient crewing levels? If so – how many times? Please give details.

Reply

As part of our integrated risk management plan, we have a blended approach to fleet management using fire appliances, crewed at 4 and 5 riders and smaller brigade support vehicles crewed attend lesser incidents or support other appliances so will not be unavailable.

If there are  riders to crew a fire appliance then it may be used as a brigade support vehicle and attend lesser incidents or support other appliances so will not be unavailable.

There are occasions whereby fire appliances are unavailable due to insufficient crewing levels but information about this is being withheld under Section 38(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) related to health and safety.

The reasons that we are withholding this information is because by disclosing this information to you, we would be releasing this information into the public domain as we publish all FOIA requests and responses on our website. We have considered that this information may highlight recurring patterns of unavailability and this information could be used to assist with unlawful activity that may adversely impact our communities.

Section 38 of FOI is a qualified exemption and means that we must consider a public interest test. In this case the safety of communities of the West Midlands outweighs the release of this information into the public domain.

Request

What’s the furthest station (in distance) you’ve had to call to provide assistance to an incident because of insufficient staffing levels?

Reply

We are refusing this request under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.    We are unable to provide this information due to the complexity and time required to manually locate, retrieve and extract data and estimated that this request would exceed a set limit known as the appropriate limit.

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.

 

18172 – Highrise familiarisation training

Ref: FOI/18172

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 28th November 20118

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

  1. After the fire at Lakanal House on 3 July 2009, what training were your crews and / or Incident Commanders given on the following:
    a) the spread of fire over the external surface of a building;
    b) fire that might behave in a manner inconsistent with the compartmentation principle;
    c) when and how to change the “stay put” advice and institute a simultaneous evacuation of a block of flats.

Reply

  1. Crews did familiarisation visits/Inspections to high rise blocks and stat high rise buildings inspections.
  2. We rely on these systems working. However we supplied crews Information on compartmentation  i.e 1 hour protection per compartment and fire door ratings. Location of Bridgheads is a safety measure. FF8 Fire Safety Ecademy packages.
  3. This is being reviewed and updated in the new High Rise Operational notes.

Request

In each example, please provide a summary of the training provided, the date it began to be delivered to crews / incident commanders and whether it is still on-going (if not, what date did it cease).

Reply

  • The e learning module was created in October 2013
  • The e learning module for high rise, was  made available to the Organisation in July 2015
  • The high rise module was reviewed following the incident in Cleveland Tower 2017 (which occurred just after Grenfell Tower)

The Fire Survival guidance and the CS10B were reviewed also by Fire Control.

Request

After the fire at Grenfell Tower in 14 June 2017, what training have your crews and / or Incident Commanders been given on the following:
a) the spread of fire over the external surface of a building;
b) fire that might behave in a manner inconsistent with the compartmentation principle;
c) when and how to change the “stay put” advice and institute a simultaneous evacuation of a block of flats.

Reply

  1. a) There is information in the High Rise Ecademy package on the Coanda effect.
  2. b) Location of Bridgheads is a safety measure. FF8 Fire Safety Ecademy packages.
  3. c) This is being reviewed and updated in the new High Rise Operational notes and Incident Command Minerva assessments for development and assessment of FireFighter’s on the progression model to Crew Commanders.

If you have any queries about this Freedom of Information request, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to 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.

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