Essex County Fire and Rescue Service reflects on busy year in new report

PUBLISHED: 08:13 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:13 11 November 2019

Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

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Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's annual report has revealed new leadership, ambitions to help the vulnerable, and recruitment of new wholetime firefighters.

Roger Hirst, police, fire and crime commissioner for the county, said: "The service has continued to deliver for the people of Essex, undertaking a huge number of engagements with vulnerable groups, fitting smoke alarms across the county, and working in schools to educate young people.

"This has coincided with a continued reduction in the number of injuries resulting from primary fires. This shows the positive impact we can have as a service when we focus on prevention and the real possibility of getting to a stage where we can have no fatalities from primary fires."

The service responded to more than 15,000 incidents in 2018-19, according to the report, of which more than 41 per cent were false alarms. About a third of call-outs were fires (32 per cent).

Jo Turton, the new chief fire officer and chief executive, said: "Last year we engaged with 82 per cent of Essex schools - delivering joint safety messages with Essex Police, we fitted 9,814 standard smoke alarms and we conducted 8,553 safe and well and home safety visits. My ambition is for this to be more. I want us to reach all our communities, particularly those who are vulnerable."

The chief executive chaired an inclusion and diversity group, established this year. The service campaigned to encourage more women and BAME applicants to firefighter posts, and supported 'neurodivergent' workers dealing with autism and attention deficit disorder.

The report read: "Our objective is to have a diverse workforce representing the community, who we enable to perform well in a supportive culture."

An inclusive workplace "enables us to utilise the experience of people that think differently to generate ideas and educate others. To be the best service that we can be, we encourage open minds to create a culture where people from all walks of life can build a rewarding career and achieve their full potential, a place where they can thrive by being their true self."

This year the service also had mental health measures in place, such as rewarding people going beyond normal role expectations.

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