You will recall that All Members circular 2008HOC0485MW announced a lobby of the Westminster Parliament for Wednesday 12th November 2008 .
Since then, work has continued in identifying key issues which arise in relation to the deaths of Firefighters. Although research is still underway we are able to highlight a number of key issues which the Union will continue to examine and which will be raised within the Fire Service, at the lobby of Parliament and subsequently.
This research is not about blame, re-opening inquests or leaping to conclusions about recent incidents which are still under active investigation by either the Police or the Health and Safety Executive. It is about returning to basics; what lessons were learned; what lessons can still be learned and what must be put in place to ensure that every possible step is taken to prevent any further deaths and to improve overall safety ' for Firefighters and for the public.
The Union is calling on members to attend the rally and lobby of Parliament on November 12 th, to call for agreed measures to improve safety. Every Fire Station and Fire Service workplace is asked to send a representative to the lobby.
We will raise issues such as:
- Learning the lessons - We will call for a national Fire and Rescue Service body - responsible for ensuring that the findings and recommendations from fatal or other serious incidents are considered and implemented across the UK.
- Invest in safety ' This body should be tasked with keeping adequate records of incidents involving the deaths and serious injury of Firefighters at national level. It should also be responsible for developing and agreeing safety critical national guidance based on the lessons learned from deaths and from other serious incidents.
- Invest in training ' We will press for a greater balance to be restored between community safety initiatives and operational intervention. There is a need for a greater emphasis on training for operational emergency response and the technical knowledge that is required to support such response.
- Improve Emergency Planning ' We are concerned that local Fire Service Risk Management Plans (IRMP) do not adequately take into account Firefighter safety, training and resource needs. We will call for improvement in the guidance given to Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) when developing IRMPs.
- Invest in Emergency Response ' The FBU fully supports the drive to prevent fires through education and community engagement. However, we are concerned that among some policy makers there has been a campaign to undermine and denigrate the importance of Emergency Intervention. The truth is that Emergency Intervention (responding to fires and other emergencies) remains at the heart of our Service. Failing to take account of this fact threatens to further endanger the safety of Firefighters. We will insist that this is recognised and taken into account in all policy development at a national and local level.
I am sure that you will agree that these issues are at the heart of developing a Fire and Rescue Service that can respond to the challenges of the 21 st century and which can protect Firefighters and the public we serve.
Every Branch is urged to discuss this matter and to begin the process of identifying a representative (or representatives) to attend the rally and lobby in November.
Put Safety First
Remember the Dead ' Fight for the Living