We’re West Midlands Fire Service and our job is to keep the 2.8 million people of the West Midlands safe. We serve a diverse population across Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. We’re the second largest fire and rescue service in England.
‘The Plan 2017-20’ will give you a real flavour of what we do and why. We hope you enjoy learning about our priorities, how we decide on and achieve them, and – most importantly – the difference this will make to the lives and successes of our residents and businesses.
We’re as committed as ever to getting to the most serious incidents in a five-minute, risk-based attendance time. But, to truly reflect the full range of services we provide, we’ve changed our guiding vision statement, which is now ‘Making the West Midlands Safer, Stronger and Healthier’. We believe that we have an important role to play in helping people live safer, healthier lives and supporting West Midlands businesses and the economy to thrive.
We work with partners and the community to identify risks across the West Midlands and use this evidence as the basis of our Community Safety Strategy. This, in turn, informs how we distribute fire stations, fire engines, equipment and – most importantly – emergency response staff across the West Midlands. We call this our Service Delivery Model.
In 2015 we attended nearly 25,000 incidents. Of these, around 10,000 were fires and 2,300 were road collisions and overall 280 people had to be rescued.
As well as attending emergencies, we also carried out 30,277 checks in people’s homes last year and worked with businesses to help keep their employees and customers safe. Our prevention and community safety helps to stop fires happening in the first place and is a vital part of what we do.
Providing a service that is considered excellent drives everything we do, in spite of multi-million pound reductions in the money we get from Whitehall. By 2019/20, our Core Funding provided by Government will have been reduced by £38 million since the cuts began in 2011. This is an unprecedented reduction, in the region of 50%.
We’ve have maintained and built upon a strong collaborative relationship with other blue light services, Local Authorities and other partners throughout the West Midlands.
Our relationship with the health sector has been a critical success factor in the progress we’ve made reducing emergency response demand, and reducing the likelihood of having an emergency by taking many different types of preventative action. These include our Safe and Well checks, road safety education, school visits and working with businesses. Many more examples are highlighted throughout this site.
Our firefighters’ work tackling health issues, at the same time as safety issues, has been recognised by world experts. We understand how the two issues go hand-in-hand. We¹re proud that our communities trust us and let us into their homes or businesses to let us help them to help themselves.
There will be even greater opportunities for collaboration, following the launch of the West Midlands Combined Authority. Nationally, fire and rescue services now report into the Home Office, which maintains our close working with West Midlands’ Police and Crime Commissioner.
It all makes for a challenging but exciting new landscape in which we operate and want to influence – so we can be sure we’re providing the best possible service to the communities of the West Midlands, to make them safer, stronger and healthier.