Comment by: John Berrisford (Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service)
Focus area: Fire safety regulation
Regulator concerned: Fire safety (Fire Authority)
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue (SFRS) would like to submit a response to the above review in relation to how it supports businesses through a new initiative that was launched in September 2009. Essentially this was to re-brand and re-launch our Commercial Fire Safety Department and to create a dedicated Business Support Team.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to providing the businesses of Staffordshire with a high level of support that not only supports the response element of our service which of course in most cases will be taken for granted but we also offer a great deal by way of proactive support and partnership and collaborative working, using fresh ideas and initiatives that really do add value.
We are all influenced by changes to legislation and working practices particularly regarding fire safety enforcement and the need to respond to those changes. It is with this in mind that motivated the creation and development of the Business Support Team within Staffordshire.
Staffordshire’s Business Support Team provides advice on a range of topics and is not typically limited to fire safety advice. Peter Dartford, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief executive and Chief Fire Officer comments “We very much see that we have a role in promoting economic development and the local economy and supporting businesses is a key way in which we can do that”. Businesses obviously play a key role in generating and maintaining our economy and therefore it essential that they can grow and develop with confidence knowing that public services like the fire service are in deed supporting that growth and development.
Mr Dartford goes on to say: “The fire and rescue service has a statutory role as regulator and an enforcer and that’s perhaps the perception many of you may have of what we do, however we have a real opportunity to make a contribution far beyond those expectations and indeed the wider expectations of the fire and rescue service”.
As a consequence of that we have developed a number of ways that we can support local businesses, not only through the provision of training courses, not just on fire safety but on more general safety in the work place but more importantly we have created material that is available in a range of formats from hard copy, cd’s and more increasingly via the internet to provide information to businesses to help you to run your business and to keep it safe and your workforce safer still.
Since the creation of the Business Support Team in September 2009 the BST have delivered legislative fire protection activities within the business community, third sector and in partnership with other agencies and institutions such as, The Chamber of Commerce, The North Staffordshire Health and Safety Group, The Fire Protection Association, local companies [deleted text]. Some of our activities have been recognised at both national and regional levels for innovation and commitment. Further more we have developed specific services and support mechanisms by:
• Providing advice and support that is tailored to businesses in order to assist in the prevention of fire and other emergencies.
• Providing support and information to businesses that have had a fire, both at the time of the fire and post fire.
• Providing training and instruction that incorporates training packages that have been developed top provide long term training solutions rather than a one time fix.
• Providing specific business support visits that allow the recipient to generate the agenda and lead the support activity with our assistance.
• Delivering campaigns that specifically focus on types of premises e.g. Farms, Fast Food Outlets, Hotels, Schools and Care Homes etc.
• Working with local authorities e.g. Local Enterprise Partnerships.
• Enhancing the fire safety knowledge of small businesses that have domestic dwellings in the same building i.e. flat above fast food take away.
The team have also developed an extremely positive working relationship / partnership with the Fire Protection Association and as a result a number of Training and Information Packages are available to assist businesses to meet their obligation regarding training, information and instruction for staff.
Should it be required Staffordshire Fire & Rescue would be pleased to offer a more detailed response…