We set out our priorities and objectives in ‘Our Plan’. It’s a rolling, three-year document which covers things like reducing serious traffic accidents, helping people have safer, healthier lives and making sure we tackle emergencies effectively and safely.
A welcome to our Plan from Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West
Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority and Phil Loach,
Chief Fire Officer, West Midlands Fire Service.
Thank you for visiting these pages about our strategic Plan and our vision of ‘Making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier’.
We hope you get a real insight into how our work delivers the priorities and outcomes set by the people of the West Midlands through their Fire Authority.
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.
A lot of this relies on us collaborating with a wide range of agencies and organisations, locally and regionally, including local councils, other emergency services such as West Midlands Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
At a national level we are a member of the National Fire Chiefs Council, which leads in providing a national voice for the fire and rescue sector.
All of our staff play a major part in helping people live safer, healthier lives and supporting the West Midlands economy. They do it at a time of continuous change and significant financial challenges.
Our community consultation and engagement has shown, very clearly, that our residents understand and overwhelmingly support how we do things, including how we monitor and manage a wide variety of risks across the West Midlands. A key outcome from this consultation was community support for our risk-based, five -minute attendance time. This feedback helps to set our priorities and what we will achieve going forward.
So, how do we plan our response, prevention and protection activities to keep the communities of the West Midlands safe?
Our role as a fire and rescue service is to understand and manage risk. You can see how we do this on our community safety strategy. We are committed to an evidence-based approach to identifying the priorities and objectives set out in our strategic plan and the forecasting of future risk to determine where our staff and response vehicles are best placed. An important part of our Plan is the ability for our staff to attend high-risk emergency incidents within five minutes.
We continually review our risk assessment to make sure we are meeting the changing needs of our communities. This relies on being able to respond in a flexible way, using staff and response vehicles dynamically, according to the risk that incidents present.
Our use of innovative technological and digital solutions is aimed at enhancing this response capability, you can watch our video about 999eye to find out more. To achieve this, we ensure our staff have the right skills to be able to respond to emergencies and carry out the wide range of activities needed to reduce risk and vulnerability in delivering and supporting our Plan. We enable them to deliver these services to our communities assertively, effectively and safely.
The staff you will see responding to emergencies are the same people who will deliver Safe and Well prevention checks in the community, or participate in reducing risk to businesses through fire safety protection activities. A focus for us has been the dedication of additional protection resources to respond to our communities, following learning from the significant tragedy of Grenfell.
Our Government funding was reduced by £37m between 2010/11 and 2018/19, and it will be cut by a further £1m this year.
These are significant challenges. However, through effective risk management and by applying innovative solutions through changes in staffing and fleet management, we continue to put in place clear plans to manage risk within a reducing budget, focusing on making our communities as safe as possible.
By using evidence and looking at the future risk in the West Midlands, we make sure our staff and resources are positively reducing risk and vulnerability when and where it is needed most, and that their response is assertive, effective and safe.
”We are committed to an evidence-based approach to identifying the priorities and objectives set out in our strategic plan and the forecasting of future risk to determine where our staff and response vehicles are best placed.Phil LoachChief Fire Officer
”We continue to put in place clear plans to manage risk within a reducing budget, focusing on making our communities as safe as possible.John EdwardsChair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority
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The West Midlands
Knowing where the risks are, we can decide where we need our fire stations, firefighters and vehicles. It also helps us plan how we deliver our full range of services which we split into response, prevention and protection.
Lots of people are really surprised by the variety of our work, which is reflected in our vision statement:
‘Making the West Midlands Safer, Stronger and Healthier’.
We are the second largest fire and rescue service in the country, serving 2.8 million residents across seven local authority areas (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils).
The West Midlands has a diverse and multi-cultural population, spread across 902 square kilometres. It includes areas with the highest risk in England outside of London, presenting a range of socio-economic and health and wellbeing challenges.