More than 5,000 people responded to a public consultation survey from West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) – with the majority expressing high or total trust in their fire and rescue service.
The results of the ten-week consultation, which ran from 3 July to 11 September 2023, will help to shape WMFS’s community risk management planning for 2024-27.
Nearly 4,800 members of the public completed the survey, together with some 140 of WMFS’s partner organisations and more than 700 members of WMFS staff.
More than 90 per cent of public and partner respondents expressed high levels of trust in WMFS. The majority of people who had used our prevention, protection or emergency response services rated them as excellent or good.
When asked how their fire and rescue service could help to make them safer, the public listed community engagement, climate/environmental advice, electric/battery safety and water safety among their priorities.
Residents of high-rise buildings also put community engagement and safety advice at the top of their list, as well as calling for new legislation and sprinkler systems.
Just over 80 per cent of respondents agreed with our assessment of emerging risks faced by our communities.
They wanted us to consider the safety of electric vehicles and how they are charged, lithium-ion batteries, climate- and environment-related issues, and anti-social or criminal activity. They also listed issues linked to the cost of living, roads, buildings and infrastructure.
Our Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Brown, said: “We are very grateful to everyone who responded to our public consultation, and proud that so many people expressed such high levels of trust in West Midlands Fire Service.
“It is clear that members of our communities, our partner organisations and staff care deeply about the role of their fire and rescue service, and have clear views about our approach to risk management.
“We will consider each and every response as we focus our efforts on our community risk management planning for 2024-27.
“This planning will help us prioritise how we spend our budget and allocate our resources, as well as what new and transformational projects we might introduce to meet new and changing risks.”
The consultation results were presented in a report to members of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority when they met on 23 October.
The report includes summaries of respondents’ views on a range of subjects, including WMFS’s approach to recruitment and sustainability.
Under the National Fire and Rescue Framework, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA) has committed to consult on its Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) every three years, or where there is a material change to it.
The authority must ensure that its CRMP reflects effective consultation, throughout its development and at all review stages, with its communities, workforce, representative bodies and partners organisations.