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South Yorkshire 2018/19

Effectiveness

How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?

Last updated 17/12/2019
Good

An effective fire and rescue service will identify and assess the full range of foreseeable fire and rescue risks its community faces. It will target its fire prevention and protection activities to those who are at greatest risk from fire. It will make sure businesses comply with fire safety legislation. When the public calls for help, the fire and rescue service should respond promptly with the right skills and equipment to deal with the incident effectively. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness is good.

South Yorkshire FRS has a good understanding of local and community risk. It has a three-year plan outlining how it will provide its services which is available to the public on its website. The plan uses a wide range of data to inform its response, prevention and protection activities.

The service’s prevention activity is based on working with partner organisations to identify those most at risk from fire. It prioritises its safe and well at home safety visits to those deemed most at risk. It also works closely with South Yorkshire Police to provide wider joint community safety advice, and with other agencies to improve public safety.

Its protection work prioritises buildings with a potential higher risk to life such as sleeping premises. It has a risk-based audit programme to focus this activity.

The service doesn’t have a set response standard to attend incidents, simply aiming to attend “as quickly as possible”. It has a wide range of vehicles, skills and specialist staff to enable it to deal with emergency incidents effectively. 

The service provides effective information for crews to access building-specific risk information at incidents. It has recently expanded the amount of building risk information it holds. This has necessitated filtering out the information covering buildings that do not pose significant risks to crews. It is addressing this workload, but this has delayed the ability for crews to carry out protection work.

The service has two main duty systems, wholetime and on call. It needs to improve fire engine availability at some of its on-call stations.

The service has shown that it can respond to both local and national incidents when needed. It regularly tests its procedures jointly with other organisations, but it could improve how often it trains with its neighbouring services. It also needs to improve its crews’ access to cross-border risk information.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How well does the FRS understand the risk of fire and other emergencies?

Good

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies. But we found the following area in which it needs to improve:

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure its firefighters have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information.

All fire and rescue services should identify and assess all foreseeable fire and rescue-related risks. They should also prevent and mitigate these risks.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Understanding local and community risk

South Yorkshire FRS has a good process for identifying the risks that the community may face. The service has built its risk profile using a wide range of data. This includes health and population data from local authorities and health partner organisations, previous incident information, and local resilience forum (LRF) and national risks. The data is updated before any new work begins on the integrated risk management plan (IRMP). Plans for future residential and industrial or commercial building work (such as High Speed Two) are also considered.

The service uses all the data it collects to conduct modelling to identify groups of people and geographical areas that are more at risk of fire and other emergencies. 

This modelling is also used to test any potential impact of changes to locations or availability of its fire engines. The service uses this information to propose changes that meet its financial requirements while having the least effect on response times and service levels.

The service has a good understanding of the risks its communities are likely to face because of the wide range of historical, demographic and potential future needs data it uses. This analysis is used to inform the IRMP. The current version runs from 2017 to 2020.

The service consults with the public, community groups and local authorities on its plans. The service received 147 external and 28 internal responses to its 2013 IRMP consultation. During consultation, the service asked the public if it wanted a response standard or solely a commitment to respond as quickly as possible. As a result, the service doesn’t have a published response standard but works to arrive at any incident as quickly as it can. The service monitors its response time performance, and this is discussed in the response section of the report.

To improve its efficiency, the service’s last IRMP committed to introduce a new crewing system called close proximity crewing (CPC) at four stations. This arrangement sees firefighters working a combination of day shifts and on-call night shifts while at those fire stations. The system reduces staffing costs since fewer firefighters are needed at those stations, and it has a lesser effect on response times than other on-call crewing systems might. Last year, the service lost a legal challenge which ruled this system unlawful. As a result, the service is publicly consulting on its IRMP to agree an approach that meets the financial pressures it faces.

Having an effective risk management plan

The service has a current IRMP that outlines the main risks that the community may face and is consulting on a new one. Its risks determine how the service will carry out its response, prevention and protection activity.

The service’s IRMP is produced in line with the requirements of the Fire and Rescue National Framework for England and links to national and community risk registers. It clearly explains to the public how it links to functional, departmental and local station plans.

Station-based staff have a community handbook which details the population diversity for their area. This gives them information to support their prevention activities. The University of Sheffield has validated the service’s risk management process so that it meets the needs of the community, and any new plans are as effective as possible.

The service is working in a difficult financial environment, which has prompted it to consider several new ways to reduce costs. Finding efficiencies has been a major driver for the proposals in the current and future IRMPs. The service is identifying how to reduce costs and is considering different response arrangements, including reducing the number of firefighters on an engine from five to four. The service is acutely aware that any reductions in frontline cover could have an adverse effect on response times. As a result, it is exploring options that won’t affect response times. But opposition from some local politicians and the Fire Brigades Union, make implementing change a challenge for the service.

Maintaining risk information

The service has effective systems in place to collect and share risk-critical information with its staff. But it needs to make sure it reviews this information frequently to keep it reliable and valid.

Any safety-critical information is sent to all relevant staff via a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) memo. Staff must acknowledge receipt and confirm understanding of the information. For high-level risk or more complex information, such as new operational procedures, the service also creates accessible e-learning packages on its learning platform that staff have to complete. Managers can run reports to check staff have reviewed information.

Arrangements for communicating information across the service are effective. For example, staff undertaking prevention or protection activity can use a form to share operational risks such as hoarding or dangerous materials. Fire control holds and reviews this information before it is sent to responding crews via the mobile data terminal (MDT) on each fire engine or as part of the initial incident information.

Firefighters can access risk information, including for temporary events, via the MDT. Staff showed they could access this information quickly and effectively. Information on building hazards and construction is kept on a central database, called Operational Risk Information (ORI), which feeds information to the MDTs.

As at 31 December 2018, the service had 2,539 risk sites and in the 9 months to 31 December 2018, it had made 978 visits.

The service has updated its ORI data to include some lower-level risk premises. This means it now includes buildings that aren’t relevant as they don’t pose significant or unusual risks for firefighters. At the time of our inspection, fire crews were reviewing new and existing information, which has affected capacity to carry out other duties such as fire protection work. The service must prioritise training, oversight and project management of this risk-critical function so that all information available to operational staff is current, accurate and reliable.

2

How effective is the FRS at preventing fires and other risks?

Good

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area. 

Prevention strategy

The service has an effective prevention strategy and processes for directing prevention work to the most vulnerable people. It uses partner organisation referrals and data to focus its statutory duties. Fire safety in the home is a clear priority, and the service is also involved in non-statutory activities such road safety, child safety and other wider social issues that affect the diverse needs of its community. This work complements its statutory functions.

Prevention activity is driven by a central team and provided by specialist staff and operational fire crews. The service plans annual campaigns in line with local needs and nationally-driven safety campaigns. A central communications team supports these campaigns using a range of social and traditional media channels.

By using its own and other agencies’ data, the service effectively targets people and geographical areas that are more likely to suffer harm because of fire. It then uses a network of over 200 partner organisations to refer people who fit the at-risk profile for intervention from fire service staff. This profiling links to common fire risks such as smoking and mobility, and other factors such as social deprivation. For example, the service has just entered a data sharing agreement with Barnsley Council to access addresses that have assisted bin collections. Alongside referrals, staff also target addresses to prioritise their activity. Although not everyone visited fits the individual priority risk profile, they do live in an area identified as being at higher risk.

The service has moved away from offering a home fire safety visit to any member of the community. Instead, anyone who requests a visit goes through a risk scoring process to determine if they need a visit or whether fire safety advice would be more suitable. This means that only those at a higher risk are the priority for home safety, and safe and well visits. Staff have targets for prevention work in line with the risk rating which is monitored as part of the service’s performance management framework.

In the year to 31 March 2018, the service made 20,578 home fire safety visits. This equates to 14.8 home safety checks per 1,000 population, compared with an England rate of 10.4.

Visits address identifying and reducing fire risks and fitting smoke alarms, and welfare-related activities, such as health screening, preventing ill health, social welfare and how to avoid slips, trips and falls.

Of the 20,578 visits, 34 percent were to households occupied by an elderly person and 20 percent to households occupied by a person with a disability. These are lower than the England average but have remained stable since 2010/11.

All partner referrals receive either a home fire safety visit or a safe and well visit. Safe and well visits are for more complex cases and are made by specialist prevention staff. Home fire safety visits, made by operational fire crews, focus on traditional fire prevention and checking smoke alarms. Fire crews in the Doncaster district are piloting the more comprehensive safe and well visits. Partner organisation referrals are the most effective way of directing prevention work to the most vulnerable. But sometimes there are too few referrals to satisfy the activity levels set for each station.

Staff at stations have access to incident heat maps and community profiling handbooks which allow them to target their prevention work. However, these recently-introduced methods aren’t being used to their full effect.

Promoting community safety

The service has a range of effective partnerships to promote wider community safety. There is a joint community safety team with SYP. This team runs several activities aimed at making the whole community safer, such as an interactive safety centre called ‘Lifewise’. This impressive facility educates school children – predominantly in year six – about fire, road, water and online safety, and first aid and other activities. The service told us that 372 schools attended the centre and it engaged with nearly 15,500 pupils in the 2018/19 academic year.

The joint police and fire team also runs other activities for young people such as the Prince’s Trust, which operates from fire stations.

Young people who are at a high risk of fire or fire setting behaviour can be referred to specialist fire service staff who work to educate them on the possible consequences of their actions. The service received 67 referrals in 2018/19. They also run proactive seasonal campaigns aimed at reducing deliberate fire setting. When proactive or educational interventions fail, the service works with the police to prosecute arsonists.

Staff at on-call stations are allocated paid time so they can support local events such as school visits and fetes. The service recognises that it needs to do more targeted prevention work in rural areas that have an on-call crewed fire station. These areas tend to have longer response times to an incident than areas with wholetime fire crews.

The service has designed its prevention activities to benefit the wider community rather than just focusing on the fire service’s priorities. An external evaluation of the service’s prevention work concluded that campaigns focusing on specific risk groups return a higher value than wider generic prevention work.

The service has allocated funding for a Safer Stronger Communities Reserve. This is designed to fund specific projects such as: providing smoke alarms for deaf people; local community projects for people living with dementia; projects aimed at people with disabilities; and prevention work with seldom-heard groups such as communities from minority backgrounds.

Prevention staff are trained in how to identify vulnerability and safeguarding issues. We heard many positive examples of concerns being identified and processed through the correct referral channels.

Road safety

The service is part of a safer roads partnership along with local authorities, other emergency services and public sector organisations in the county. Specialist prevention staff carry out education work with colleagues from South Yorkshire Police. The work at Lifewise focuses on road safety for younger children, identifying issues such as safe road crossing and behaviour on public transport. The service also offers bespoke education packages to year 10 children about mopeds and cycling safety and how to be a safe passenger. Staff at fire stations don’t do any road safety education unless they are asked to support a specialist advocate with a practical demonstration.

3

How effective is the FRS at protecting the public through the regulation of fire safety?

Good

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at protecting the public through fire regulation. But we found the following areas in which it needs to improve:

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it addresses effectively the burden of false alarms.
  • The service should ensure it has effective arrangements for providing specialist protection advice out of hours.

All fire and rescue services should assess fire risks in buildings and, when necessary, require building owners to comply with fire safety legislation. Each service decides how many assessments it does each year. But it must have a locally determined, risk-based inspection programme for enforcing the legislation.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Risk-based approach

The service has developed and implemented a fire safety enforcement strategy and risk-based audit programme which is informed by local risk and complies with its statutory requirements. South Yorkshire FRS has recently reviewed its risk based audit programme (RBAP) to focus on the buildings that pose the greatest risk to life. The service uses data to enable it to classify commercial properties in line with a previous fire service classification system called Fire Service Emergency Cover.

The service defines four classes of premises: A, B, C and D. Class A are the highest risk and are usually made up of various sleeping risks from houses in multiple occupation, sleeping above commercial premises, hotels and health establishments. As at 31 December 2018, the service had identified 7,184 class A property types and in the year to 31 December 2018 had audited 243 of them. The service aims to audit 955 of these premises in the year to 31 March 2020.

The overall number of audits has decreased from 2,632 in the year to 31 March 2016 to 1,454 in the year to 31 March 2018. This equates to 3.8 audits per 100 known premises, which is higher than the average England rate of 3.0.

Several years ago, the staff who carry out protection work changed from uniformed fire officers to civilian fire protection staff. This reduced costs but affected the team’s capacity because this technical area requires two years’ development to become fully competent. As at 31 December 2018, 20 of its 28 staff are fully qualified to level 4 diploma, with the remaining 8 staff nearing completion. The service has assured us that now staff levels are back to full strength they will have capacity to achieve the required numbers of audits.

The service uses a nationally agreed template when it conducts a full premises fire safety audit to provide consistency. It doesn’t use short audits, which are smaller and therefore quicker and more efficient than long audits. Short audits may be more appropriate at some premises. Protection work is quality assured by the district fire protection manager.

As well as pre-planned audits under the RBAP, the service also carries out reactive protection audits. For example, it follows up complaints and audits non-domestic premises that have had a fire.

The service has plans for operational fire crews to carry out lower-level protection work but the ongoing work to review the ORI data has meant the rollout of this activity has been postponed.

The service received 789 building regulation consultations in the 9 months to 31 December 2018. Of these, 96.8 percent were completed on time. This level has remained broadly stable over the last three years.

Enforcement

South Yorkshire FRS is well prepared to take appropriate enforcement action. The service’s policy is based on a principle of better regulation. It considers the level of engagement and alternative options before taking formal action.

The service works with businesses to help them comply with fire safety regulations, either by giving advice or issuing informal notices. In the year to 31 March 2018, the service issued 876 informal notifications.

When this approach isn’t suitable, the service is able and willing to take enforcement action. Protection staff are trained, able and equipped to issue formal prohibition notices immediately.

In the year to 31 March 2018, the service issued 31 enforcement notices and 17 notices to prohibit use of premises that were in breach of legislation.

For serious breaches, the service will consider prosecution. It takes legal advice and considers the public interest test before deciding whether prosecution is the right course of action.

Some fire services have agreements with large businesses or organisations to provide fire safety advice. These arrangements are called primary authority schemes. South Yorkshire FRS has one such scheme in place with a large DIY company.

Since protection staff work normal office hours, any dangerous situation arising outside these times is dealt with by the service’s duty manager, who may not be a protection specialist. Although these managers have had some basic protection training, they don’t maintain their competence in this area. The service is looking at a regional approach so that out-of-hours specialist advice is always available.

However, the service should consider if its current arrangements provide effective protection for people outside office hours. We don’t believe the current arrangement is suitably reliable. We expect all services, especially metropolitan ones such as South Yorkshire, to have capability to respond appropriately to fire safety concerns at all times.

Working with others

South Yorkshire FRS has made some progress in reducing the number of false alarms its crews attend. Fire control will only send a fire engine if it believes there is a fire, or to premises where there is a known risk. Data provided after inspection shows that, in the year to the 31 March 2019, the service received 3,775 calls to automatic fire alarms and sent an engine to 84 percent (3,171) of these calls.

When a fire crew attends a false alarm, it records details of the cause and some possible solutions to the building owner to prevent re-occurrence. A copy of the record is left with the responsible person and another copy sent to a central specialist protection officer to decide if follow-up action is needed. The follow-up may be in the form of a letter or a full audit of the premises. The service is also exploring other measures such as charging repeat offenders.

There is more work that could be done to reduce this type of call. The central function ensures consistency, but we found it removes a sense of local ownership by station-based staff.

The service works well with several other enforcement agencies such as environmental health, trading standards, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive in compliance and supporting prosecutions. The service made a joint prosecution with the Environment Agency last year after a large fire at a waste recycling site.

The service has a dedicated business engagement officer who works with organisations such as the chamber of commerce or specific groups such as the local Chinese community to promote fire safety compliance.

The service is a strong advocate of installing sprinklers in buildings. The service previously funded a project to retrofit sprinklers in a high-rise building which persuaded other organisations, like Doncaster Council, to fit sprinklers in its own housing stock.

4

How effective is the FRS at responding to fires and other emergencies?

Good

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to fires and other emergencies. But we found the following areas in which it needs to improve:

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it understands what it needs to do to adopt national operational guidance, including joint and national learning. It should then put in place a plan to do so.
  • The service should ensure it has an effective system in place to capture operational learning so as to improve its operational response.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Managing assets and resources

The service manages its assets and resources well, although its average response time has increased.

The service has fire engines, specialist vehicles and other equipment to respond to a wide range of incidents that may occur in its service area. It has 27 fire engines that operate from 21 stations (14 wholetime stations, 3 mixed fire stations and 4 on-call). To help maintain fire cover at its wholetime stations, fire control can temporarily move engines from other stations that have two available engines.

In the year to 31 December 2018, the service attended 11.0 incidents per 1,000 population, slightly above the average England rate of 10.4 over the same period.

Unlike many other services, South Yorkshire FRS doesn’t have a set response standard. Instead, it has simply told its local community that it aims to arrive at any incident as quickly as possible. In our view this is undesirable as it is not a measurable standard against which the public can hold the service to account.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on response times by measuring the time between the call being made and the first fire engine arriving at the scene. This provides consistent data across all 45 services. This shows that the service’s average response time to primary fires has increased from 7 minutes 57 seconds in the year to 31 March 2013, to 8 minutes 55 seconds in the year to 31 March 2018. This is higher than the average for other predominantly urban areas.

While attendance times are monitored and senior managers are aware of the increases, action should be taken to ensure further increases are mitigated.

Control room staff handle calls and dispatch resources effectively. The number of staff in fire control was reduced in 2017 after a review. There is a reciprocal arrangement with West Yorkshire FRS so that staff there can take calls on behalf of South Yorkshire. This might happen if the control function reaches capacity or becomes unavailable.

ICT systems in control could be more effective. The mobilising and on-call availability systems aren’t linked, so the service can’t be sure that enough staff with the right skills can deploy as a crew. For example, if there are four staff available but none is qualified to be the incident commander, the system will still show the engine as being available to be mobilised. This could result in delays mobilising a fully competent crew.

There is good availability of wholetime fire engines. Staff from the operational resourcing team (ORT) are used to supplement any staff shortages on wholetime fire stations. If there aren’t enough ORT staff available, overtime is used. This arrangement only applies to wholetime stations. As a result, in some instances availability at some on-call stations is very low. For example, at Dearne fire station, the average availability for the year to 31 December 2018 was 14.7 percent.

Overall, in the year to 31 December 2018, the total fire engine availability was 87.2 percent which is in line with most services. The average monthly availability ranged from 84.1 percent to 89.2 percent.

The requirements for operational staff to participate in operational training scenarios aren’t being met. Every station’s action plan has an annual requirement for staff to participate in training exercises. This requirement isn’t effectively managed, and the exercises aren’t consistent across all operational staff. Some staff hadn’t participated in such an exercise for over two years. The service would benefit from placing greater corporate oversight in this area.

Response

The service has decided to fully adopt national operational guidance (NOG). It is part of a regional group which makes sure guidance is implemented consistently, and which shares workloads across services to ease the burden.

South Yorkshire FRS has completed a gap analysis and knows what it needs to do to bring its policies, procedures and training in line with NOG. So far, only incident command guidance has been adopted. It doesn’t have a clear rationale for the order in which it adopts NOG. The service can mobilise the right number and type of fire engines in line with its plans for the incident it faces. It has pre-determined attendance plans for different incidents, so that the appropriate resources can be sent.

Lessons learned from other incidents – local and national – are used to revise its pre-determined attendances. For example, it increased the number of fire engines sent to fires in car parks following a large fire in Merseyside FRS. But, at the time of our inspection, there was no formal review process for the number of fire engines being sent to various incident types. Control operators can use their professional judgment to increase or decrease the pre-determined attendances according to the incident information they receive. Duty managers are available to support any response decisions.

An agreement is also in place with its other emergency service partners to assist them in gaining entry to premises for medical emergencies.

Staff we met were well trained for their roles. We tested how they use MDTs on fire engines and saw that staff confidently access risk information about premises and incidents. Breathing apparatus checks were completed to the expected standard. We also found control staff had a programmed training schedule to maintain competence.

Command

Operational staff with expected incident command duties have clear training and assessment standards. All staff up to group manager have qualifications for the role and are assessed every two years at the service’s incident command suite. We reality tested staff from all the four levels of command and found the expected level of knowledge and understanding.

Each incident has an allocated operational assurance officer who supports the incident commander. Their role is to give advice or assume command if needed. If they assume command, an extra assurance officer will be deployed.

A range of materials is available to help commanders manage incidents, such as decision logs and incident risk assessments. There are also operational aide-memoires on the MDTs to help deal with different incident scenarios. Some incidents aren’t covered by standard procedures. When this happens, commanders may have to use operational discretion. The commanders we spoke to felt well prepared to use their discretion and were confident that the service would support their judgment. As part of our inspection, we also undertook a staff survey (please see Annex A for more details). Of the 46 firefighters who had incident command responsibility, 78 percent were confident that the service would support them in using unauthorised tactics, or tactics in a novel way if the incident required it.

Keeping the public informed

The service uses a range of communication methods during incidents. There is an on-call communications officer and all station managers receive media training. This means that the public is kept informed by traditional and social media channels during incidents or other events that occur.

Staff we interviewed are confident in being able to spot safeguarding problems and make referrals for support. Reviewing case files, we saw appropriate safeguarding referrals had been made.

Fire control staff can also identify potential vulnerability when taking emergency calls. They have access to digital and paper aides-memoire to prompt them in dealing with unusual circumstances. These prompts covered a wide range of situations such as safeguarding procedures and fire survival guidance. But some of the information was out of date and should be reviewed.

Evaluating operational performance

This is an area the service needs to improve. The service has a system for collecting learning from incidents. We found that hot debriefs are completed after most incidents and attending staff hear what lessons were learned. Although staff can upload this local learning onto a database, staff told us in most instances this didn’t happen and learning wasn’t passed on. As part of our staff survey, we had 120 responses from firefighters and specialist support staff. Only 51 percent of them were confident that action would be taken as a result of learning from operational incidents.

The system for formally collecting these lessons and making sure staff learn from them isn’t working effectively. While some learning is shared, it isn’t being collated, and trends that could influence future training and procedures aren’t being analysed. This limits what the service can contribute to its own organisational and national operational learning.

The service was one of six to pilot the national operational learning (NOL) system and, as such, sees itself as being at the forefront of NOL. We saw examples of how learning from other services has been incorporated into its procedures. But we didn’t see an effective process to enable the service to collect and share its learning with other services through NOL. Simply put, the current process is not collecting enough data to share. To be able to collect and share best practice and required improvements, the service needs to refresh its informal and formal incident debrief procedures.

5

How effective is the FRS at responding to national risks?

Good

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to national risks. But we found the following areas in which it needs to improve:

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure its operational staff have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information. This should include cross-border risk information.
  • The service should make sure it participates in a programme of cross-border exercises, sharing the learning from these exercises.

All fire and rescue services must be able to respond effectively to multi-agency and cross-border incidents. This means working with other fire and rescue services (known as intraoperability) and emergency services (known as interoperability).

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Preparedness

The service has good plans and is well prepared to attend incidents at its high-risk premises. It has arrangements with other neighbouring services to request support if needed. Fire control can co-ordinate a response into or out of the service area.

As part of the LRF, the service has good relationships with all emergency and non-emergency responders in the county. Through this forum, the service contributes to plans for dealing with high-level local and national risks, such as flooding, pandemic flu and terror-related incidents.

Working with other services

The service responds well to incidents in neighbouring services. MDTs on fire engines hold risk information extending 10 km over the border of some of its neighbouring services. But not all services share the information; for example, we saw risk information for North Yorkshire FRS but none for West Yorkshire FRS.

Some stations participated in joint training exercises with neighbouring fire services at risk sites. These are organised informally rather than as part of a co-ordinated programme. The service would benefit from a structured programme of cross-border training so that all staff can take part. Our staff survey found that only 20 percent of the 120 firefighters who responded, regularly trained or carried out exercises with neighbouring fire and rescue services.

Fire control works closely with its West Yorkshire FRS counterpart. They support each other in times of high-call volume or loss of control function and this arrangement is tested and exercised regularly.

The service has several specialist fire engines and teams that are available for local or national deployment. Fire control updates the availability of these assets on a national register daily.

Working with other agencies

Senior managers attend the multi-agency gold incident command (MAGIC) training and participate in multi-agency exercises as part of the LRF exercise plan. In 2019, there were multi-agency exercises at Sheffield Arena and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Some managers are specially trained for working with other agencies. Group managers are trained to be national inter-agency liaison officers.

The service is funded by the Home Office to have a team of specially trained firefighters to support a response to terrorist-related incidents, especially marauding terrorist firearms attacks. The service has completed joint training with other fire and emergency services so this arrangement is fully operational.