Greater Manchester’s first Fire Plan aims to ensure most vulnerable are protected
A WIDE-RANGING new plan setting out the priorities for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has launched today (Friday 14 May), which includes how the Service will ensure vulnerable communities are protected.
Greater Manchester’s first Fire Plan outlines the work GMFRS will undertake to help make our city-region safe. The plan includes six priorities and a number of commitments to residents, businesses and partners across Greater Manchester.
The Plan has been written by Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Dave Russel, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes.
Dave took on the role of CFO in September 2020 after previously working as Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. The Fire Plan is one of the first major milestones for the new CFO, who will also launch an Annual Delivery Plan for the Service – Our Plan – which outlines exactly how the commitments in the Fire Plan will be delivered. Together, the two plans fulfil the Service’s statutory duty to produce an Integrated Risk Management Plan.
CFO Dave Russel said: “Greater Manchester’s first Fire Plan aims to build on the fantastic work already undertaken by GMFRS thanks to the professionalism and dedication of everyone who works for our Service, while looking at how we can do things differently, and better, in the future.
“We continue to face a number of pressures and the last year has been incredibly challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ongoing financial uncertainties are likely to negatively impact the funds we receive locally and nationally – meaning that we will need to work hard to deliver services as efficiently as possible.
“Greater Manchester’s environment is undergoing rapid change, with the growing number of high-rise developments being built, an increasing population and the impact of the climate emergency on our communities. However, the Fire Plan gives us an opportunity to reset our priorities based on these challenges, ensuring we can prevent, protect and respond efficiently to meet the needs of our communities.”
The Plan addresses the impact of major incidents such as the Manchester Arena attack in 2017, the Saddleworth Moor fire in 2018 and, more recently, widespread flooding in south Manchester and Stockport, as well as the 2019 Cube fire in Bolton.
The priorities making up the plan include:
- Providing a fast, safe and effective service
- Helping people to reduce the risk of fires and other emergencies
- Helping protect the built environment
- Using resources sustainably while delivering the most value
- Developing a culture of excellence, equality and inclusivity
- Integrating services in every locality with those of partner agencies.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I am proud to launch the first ever Fire Plan for Greater Manchester, which has come at a critical time for our city-region.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on Greater Manchester, and it is those who are most vulnerable that have been affected the most. It is vital we address these inequalities as we build back better following the pandemic by addressing the unequal impact fires and other emergencies have on our communities.
“I would like to thank all our GMFRS staff for the outstanding work they already carry out every day, and our Fire Plan is just the start as we continue to develop the Service. Last Autumn we welcomed a new Chief who is making great progress in changing the culture of the Service. Through this Plan we want to build on these successes and ensure we are in the best possible position to prevent emergencies, protect the built environment, and ensure a safe and effective fire service and rescue service for Greater Manchester.”
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “Our fire and rescue service has continued to show passion, dedication and courage despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and I am incredibly proud of what GMFRS has achieved during my time as Deputy Mayor.
“However, we do realise there is more work that can be done to improve the Service, and our first Fire Plan places a focus on how we will continue to build and maintain a diverse and high-performing workforce. It is vital the service reflects the people it serves and understands the communities that make up our city-region.”
As the Fire Plan outlines, GMFRS will continue to identify risks to understand where to locate the workforce, while continuing to carry out joint planning and training alongside other agencies to prepare for large-scale and complex emergencies.
New approaches are also being adopted to tackle the way GMFRS respond to emergencies. Following the Saddleworth Moor fire and wide-scale flooding, GMFRS has invested in new vehicles or adapted existing ones, as well as purchasing new protective equipment for firefighters.
During the Christie Hospital fire in 2017, the Service’s drone was used to identify pockets of fire spread while lances were used to reach fires burning in the building’s cavity spaces. GMFRS has gone on to provide lances to all frontline fire engines, which improves firefighter safety by allowing fires to be tackled from outside a building.
The Fire Plan also forms part the wider Greater Manchester Strategy ‘Our People, Our Place’, which aims to make the city-region one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old. GMFRS will integrate working with partners across the city-region to enable this ambition.
14/05/2021 09:47 AM