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19168 – Fires in buildings that has exterior cladding

Ref: FOI/19168

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 16th December 2019

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

  1. Please state the total number of times your fire service has attended a fire in a building that has exterior cladding* since 1 January 2015.
  2. Please break down question 1 in the following time periods: a) 2015, b) 2016, c) 1 January to 13 June 2017, d) 14 June to 31 December 2017, e) 2018 and f) 2019 so far.

Reply

Year Number of incidents
2015 1
2016 0
2017 3
2018 3
2019 0

Request

  1. Please break down the total in question 1 by type of building (i.e. residential tower block, hospital, care home, office building etc.)

Reply

Year Building type Number of Incidents
2015 Retail, single shops and specialist service premises 1
2017 Retail, single shops and specialist service premises 1
2017 Other type of building used for storage 1
2017 Dwelling 1
2018 Dwelling 1
2018 Manufacturing / Industrial premises (e.g. factories) 1
2018 Dwelling 1

Request

  1. Of the total number in question 1, in how many incidents was the cladding found to have been a contributing factor to the spread of the fire?

Reply

2

Request

  1. Please break down question 4 by type of cladding (i.e. ACM, HPL etc.)

Reply

This information is exempt under section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as we do not hold this information. The type of cladding is not information that is captured within the workbook.

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.

19169 – Rescue incidents at Henwood Lane

Ref: FOI/19169

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 14th December 2019.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

Of the 37 incidents over the

6-year period, please can you confirm the number that

were related to the rescue of vehicles and their driver/occupants.

Please can you break down the 37 incidents on an individual yearly basis 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019.

Reply

We attended 19 incidents that was related to rescue of vehicles and their driver/occupants stuck in water.

Breakdown for the vehicles stuck in water that we attended:

Year Incidents
2014 5
2015 1
2016 2
2017 1
2018 4
2019 6

Request

On how many occasions has the West Midlands Fire Service made representations to the responsible local authority, Solihull MBC, in respect of the need for adequate

warning signage at both ends of Henwood Lane

Any other representations made to Solihull MBC regarding Henwood Lane.

Reply

This information is exempt under section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as we do not hold this information.  I have carried out extensive searches and found no records.

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.

20001 – Breakdown of emergency call outs by stations

Ref: FOI/20001

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 1st January 2020

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

Please would you kindly provide me with the number of times that each station in the WMFS area was mobilised on emergency callouts, categorised into the type of call (e.g. AFA, Fire, Special service).

Reply

Please see attached.

Calls for each station 1.0 Download

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.

19148 – Incident ground technology

Ref: FOI/19148

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 04th November 2019

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

  1. Do your Firefighters when wearing SCBA use an ATEX Digital radio to communicate by voice to BA Control?

Reply

Yes

Request

  1. Do your Firefighters ever use non ATEX radios when wearing and operating SCBA?

Reply

No

Request

  1. Are Firefighters when wearing SCBA issued one radio each or is it one radio per BA team (team of two Firefighters’).

Reply

Information related to SCBA radios; registration is exempt under Section 38 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as disclosing this information is likely to endanger individual fire service personnel. By providing this information could expose vulnerabilities in resilience arrangements and thus endanger fire-fighter safety.

Request

  1. Does your FRS make use of cable wire communications system?

Reply

Yes

Request

  1. Does your FRS have SCBA Telemetry technology available?

Reply

Yes

Request

  1. If yes to question 4, do you make use of the telemetry functionality during incidents?

Reply

Yes

Request

  1. Does your FRS have the means of tracking and locating Firefighters positional location whilst Firefighters are wearing SCBA within buildings?

Reply

Information related tracking and locating Firefighters positional location whilst Firefighters are wearing SCBA within buildings is exempt under Section 38 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as disclosing this information is likely to endanger individual fire service personnel. By providing this information could expose vulnerabilities in resilience arrangements and thus endanger fire-fighter safety.

Request

  1. Does your FRS BA Teams make use of Thermal Imaging Cameras (TIC) during an incident?

Reply

Yes

Request

9.If YES to question 7, does the TIC provide the capability to transmit live imagery to BA Control or the Incident Commander?

Reply

As a major emergency service provider, you will appreciate that we must ensure that our Firefighting capabilities are appropriately protected. Releasing detailed information about to transmit live imagery in response to your request and other similar requests under Freedom of Information has wider implications that we must consider. By this we mean that disclosing this information may prejudice our ability to maintain our own and national security. We believe that maintaining security and ensuring public safety in a national and local context takes precedence over this request.

We accept that this type of information is of interest to commercial companies and to researchers but believe that it is not in the greater public good to release detailed information.

We do not imply that release of this information alone would necessarily be immediately detrimental but taken with other information we consider that it could have an adverse effect on our capability, effectiveness and security. Given the current security climate in the UK we recognise the necessity to take a precautionary approach. In this situation we have also taken account of whether the release of this information, could, if put together with other available information, cause damage. After consideration we concluded that this type of information cannot be divorced from its context and looked at in isolation. In some circumstances, releasing this information could give rise to prejudice that would not otherwise have existed, because, taken together with other information requested, it could disclose a composite of information which is more sensitive than its individual parts taken separately.

We are therefore refusing your request under Freedom of Information exemptions, s24 National Security, and s44 Prohibition on Disclosure.

In taking this decision we have taken note of the Centre for Protecting the National Infrastructure Guidance on disclosure of sensitive information, which states

“…. that national security is paramount and should be considered carefully in any government or commercial decision to release or disseminate information to the public”.

This guidance continues to state that careful consideration must be given before disclosing ‘precise information which exposes an organisation’s information or process control systems to the threat of electronic attack’.

Some of these exemptions are subject to the public interest test. This means that we must consider whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the public interest in refusing to disclose. We have considered that it is in the interest of the majority of the public to protect our firefighting capabilities from potential harm, in order to support us to ensure public safety. We have also decided that the likelihood of damage to our firefighting capabilities need not be immediate as the impact would, in an emergency situation, be potentially serious.

We also considered whether release of this information is in the public interest in terms of explaining our decisions, ensuring accountability, or providing transparency into our handling of public finances. We have concluded that the detail of this information is not necessary to meet the public interest or reassure public concerns. As a result, we have decided that the public interest is better served by not disclosing this detailed information.”

Request

  1. Does your FRS have Firefighter wearable means of monitoring heat stress and alerting?

Reply

Information wearable means of monitoring heat stress and alerting is exempt under Section 38 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as disclosing this information is likely to endanger individual fire service personnel. By providing this information could expose vulnerabilities in resilience arrangements and thus endanger fire-fighter safety.

Request

  1. Does your FRS make use of body or helmet worn video cameras at the Incident?

Reply

As a major emergency service provider, you will appreciate that we must ensure that our Firefighting capabilities are appropriately protected. Releasing detailed information about use of body or helmet worn video cameras at the Incident in response to your request and other similar requests under Freedom of Information has wider implications that we must consider. By this we mean that disclosing this information may prejudice our ability to maintain our own and national security. We believe that maintaining security and ensuring public safety in a national and local context takes precedence over this request.

We accept that this type of information is of interest to commercial companies and to researchers but believe that it is not in the greater public good to release detailed information.

We do not imply that release of this information alone would necessarily be immediately detrimental but taken with other information we consider that it could have an adverse effect on our capability, effectiveness and security. Given the current security climate in the UK we recognise the necessity to take a precautionary approach. In this situation we have also taken account of whether the release of this information, could, if put together with other available information, cause damage. After consideration we concluded that this type of information cannot be divorced from its context and looked at in isolation. In some circumstances, releasing this information could give rise to prejudice that would not otherwise have existed, because, taken together with other information requested, it could disclose a composite of information which is more sensitive than its individual parts taken separately.

We are therefore refusing your request under Freedom of Information exemptions, s24 National Security, and s44 Prohibition on Disclosure.

In taking this decision we have taken note of the Centre for Protecting the National Infrastructure Guidance on disclosure of sensitive information, which states

“…. that national security is paramount and should be considered carefully in any government or commercial decision to release or disseminate information to the public”.

This guidance continues to state that careful consideration must be given before disclosing ‘precise information which exposes an organisation’s information or process control systems to the threat of electronic attack’.

Some of these exemptions are subject to the public interest test. This means that we must consider whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the public interest in refusing to disclose. We have considered that it is in the interest of the majority of the public to protect our firefighting capabilities from potential harm, in order to support us to ensure public safety. We have also decided that the likelihood of damage to our firefighting capabilities need not be immediate as the impact would, in an emergency situation, be potentially serious.

We also considered whether release of this information is in the public interest in terms of explaining our decisions, ensuring accountability, or providing transparency into our handling of public finances. We have concluded that the detail of this information is not necessary to meet the public interest or reassure public concerns. As a result, we have decided that the public interest is better served by not disclosing this detailed information.”

Request

  1. If YES to question 11, are the camera worn by Incident Commanders or Firefighters or both?

Reply

As above

Request

  1. Does your FRS have the means of transmitting live images captured by body or helmet worn cameras to the Incident Command Unit or Command and Control Centre?

Reply

As above

Request

  1. Does your FRS Operational Assurance/Safety Officers capture and record incident information via body or helmet worn cameras?

Reply

As above

Request

  1. Does your FRS Operational Assurance/Safety Officers capture and record incident information via tablet software systems?

Reply

As above

Request

  1. Does your FRS have its own drone technology capability?

Reply

This information is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as this information is reasonably accessible to the requestor. Information concerning our drone technology can be found on West Midlands Fire Service website at the following link:

https://www.wmfs.net/foi-entry/drones-foi18162/

Request

  1. Does your FRS make use of Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV) systems?

Reply

Yes

Request

  1. If YES to question 17, what year were PPV systems introduced.

Reply

2006

Request

  1. Does your FRS make use of Water Misting Lancing Systems?

Reply

Not at this moment in time

Request

  1. If YES to questions 19, what year were Water Misting Systems introduced.

Reply

N/A

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.

19138 – 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 1

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.

Evacuation

Any evacuation plans, policies or procedures for HRRBs;

Any actual or proposed amendments to existing evacuation plans, policies or procedures for HRRBs, since 14 June 2017.

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;

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.

Evacuation plans may exist attached to individual HRRBs as part of the West Midlands Fire Service Site Specific Risk Identification process but 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.

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

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

Request 2

Pre-determined attendance (PDA)

Your current PDA for fighting fires in HRRBs;

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

Multiple FSGs

Any operational policies/training for dealing with multiple fire survival guidance calls (FSGs)

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

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