Response to Incidents at Colleges

FOI Number: 23166

Where applicable, we publish responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This one, Response to Incidents at Colleges, is detailed below.

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Freedom of Information

Published on 2 February 2024

WMFS OFFICIAL – NEW – FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST – FOI24166 

Ref: FOI/24166 

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 further to your freedom of information request. 

Please find below a summary of our findings. 

Request 

1. How do the Fire service work with the Police, and what is the reason for their collaboration?  

Reply 

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) work in collaboration with all multi agency partners including West Midlands Police (WMP) and West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) to jointly work together for shared situational awareness at an incident to resolve it as effectively as possible. Through working together at complex incidents WMFS expose themselves to greater range of views and solutions to inform decision making to resolve incidents.  

Request 

2.What do you do if there is a fire in college and people die?  

Reply 

With any fatal fire incident within the West Midlands will investigate through our Fire Investigation team to collate and collect notes from the scene including witness statements, cause of fire, interviews, building sketches and photographs to provide organisational assurance for any potential hearings or inquiries. 

Request 

3.As a staff of fire service what is the first thing you would do in a fire situation at a college?  

Reply 

Personnel within WMFS are comprehensively trained in various elements of operational firefighting providing them the ability to understand the nature of an incident and the risks involved plus tactics and equipment required to resolve the incident. The first action would be to complete a Dynamic Risk Assessment of the incident faced to inform decision making to resolve incidents. 

Request 

4. What equipment will the fire service will use for a fire in college? 

Reply 

It is difficult to predict the equipment usage at a fire however would likely include Breathing Apparatus Sets, Thermal Imaging Camera, fire extinguishing equipment such as hose reels, drone team and hydraulic platforms.    

Request 

5.What action plan do you have? 

Reply 

WMFS are comprehensively trained in various elements of operational firefighting providing them the ability to understand the nature of an incident and the risks involved plus tactics and equipment required to resolve the incident. These outline the necessary actions that typically should be considered at an incident type however, incident commanders will always carry out a dynamic risk assessment at scene to ensure crew safety. 

Request 

6.What special clothing do you use if there is a fire in college?  

Reply 

WMFS provide all operational staff with the correct personal protective equipment to complete tasks within the hazard zone at an incident including: 

  • Fire tunic 
  • Fire leggings 
  • Fire Helmet 
  • Fire gloves 
  • Fire boots 
  • Fire flash hood   

Request 

7.If there is a fire in the college, how many Fire service staff will they order to respond?  

Reply 

WMFS have a level of response for resources and personnel for a range of incident types to ensure the incident type will be sufficiently resourced to resolve the incident. Incident commanders then have the ability to make up for resources or personnel at scene if the incident is more severe than expected 

Request 

8.What do you do if you see that some people are missing, and they are in the college fire, and they don’t speak English? 

Reply 

WMFS will carry out search and rescue operations at incidents where it is believed that people are missing. Unfortunately, given the dynamic and life critical nature of our work, language barriers can be overlooked in ensuring the safety of individuals involved. In more static incidents WMFS have literature and contact lines to mitigate against the risk of miscommunication. 

Request 

9.Will the Fire service close the road if there is a fire on the college?  

Reply 

WMFS will make an assessment on scene if road closures are required to ensure the safety of operational crews at scene. This can be completed by WMFS personnel however, would request West Midlands Police to control the scene if the incident is protracted. 

Request 

10. How do the fire service staff protect themselves from fire? 

Reply 

WMFS personnel are supplied with the PPE identified within Q6. WMFS personnel also rely on the comprehensive training given to them throughout their careers to ensure they are able to make the correct decisions during an incident to keep both themselves and others safe. 

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. 

Please note: Due to a migration and ensuring the accessibility of our policies and documents where possible, not all documents referenced in our FOI's are available. If you require a copy of a document referenced in our FOI's which is not linked below or is in a format that is not accessible to you, please email contact@wmfs.net.