18074 – USAR skills & payments.

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A request for information about USAR skills & payments.

Ref: FOI/18074


I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 14th May 2018.

Please find below a summary of our findings.


1.With the annual firefighter salary at £29.934, What additional payment(s) are given to USAR personnel (ie USAR Technician and USAR Advisor) in your brigade for undertaking training and delivery of the USAR capability ?


Technical Rescue (USAR) personnel up to and including Watch Commander level receive a 10% (£2,990) annual increment for providing an additional 42 hours retained or standby payment in addition to their 42 hours positive duty period (totalling 84 hours duty per week averaged over an eight week period). The role of Technical Rescue Advisor (TRA) is purely voluntary and does not receive any additional payment, or benefit in kind.


  1. What on call/recall payments are made to USAR personnel (if additional to above)


In addition to the above, TRU personnel receive a disturbance allowance of £200 for incidents or exercises that require in excess of 18 continuous hours duty within a 24-hour period.


  1. Do USAR technicians undertake USAR/Technical Rescue only or do they also have full firefighting and CFS responsibilities?


TRU personnel provide full firefighting capability and are required to maintain competencies across the full fire fighter competency framework in addition to their National Resilience KPI requirements for USAR & MTFA, plus those associated with Rope Rescue, Levels 3, 4, 5 & 6 Water Rescue response, Confined Spaces, Heavy RTC, Large animal rescues, etc. In terms of CFS responsibilities, these are exactly the same as the core crews apart from S&W and Schools Visits. SSRI’s and Ward Based initiatives are still part of TRU’s role. A local agreement exists between TRU and surrounding Stations at both B07 & E09 for the delivery of CFS related activities within TRU’s respective Ward areas.


  1. How many USAR personnel do you have?


Current rider establishment at TRU is: 48 rider personnel across 4 watches and 2 Stations. Additional to this is 1 x WCdr B Training & Development Officer role, plus 1 x Stn Commander B post.


  1. Please provide a breakdown of your annual USAR budget and expenditure.


The total budget for 2017/18 for TRU (including B07 & E09) was £1,289,800. Actually expenditure for that financial period was £1,236,914 achieving a positive variance of £52,886. During this financial period TRU also generated £62K in additional funding through training delivery, plus an estimated £50k in chargeable SSCs. To achieve this financial efficiency a Section 31 grant of £816,700 is provided from Central Government funding to support the delivery of USAR within WMFS.


  1. Please explain the expected training requirements of USAR personnel.


As highlighted in question 3 TRU personnel are expected to maintain competencies across all of the key functional roles identified, plus all of those associated with the fire fighter rolemap. TRU personnel are also required to maintain and record all of the equipment & inventories associated with the National Resilience USAR capability with 5 x USAR modules, each of which can carry up to 2,500 pieces of equipment. Additionally, key TRU personnel are also required to represent WMFS at National Working Groups associated with the capability, including NFCC Tactical Water Rescue Group, USAR NWG & NUG, National Rope User Group, MTFA NWG & NUG, UKISAR NWG & NUG.

If you have any queries about this email, 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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