This can and will effect anyone who is involved in a fire or a Road traffic Collision a rescue or Calls 999 and the Isle of Fire service is sent to assist.
Given the short adjournment from last months Isle of Wight Scrutiny meeting the goal posts have been moved and rearranged even further with Three more plans to send the Isle of Wight Fire Service into the fire. One Question that has yet to be answered just hours before the meeting to rubber stamp these plans is if someone is hurt or dies as a result of the changes who is putting their name to it the Council or the Isle of Wight Fire service. Here’s a few facts that have not been mentioned that the Isle of Wight Council Payer needs to be made aware of from what we have picked up from the Isle of Wight Service review Papers.
The CFOA state that crewing must not be based on demand but risk. This was
in existence before the review took place.
It is often argued that the service success in reducing incidents should inevitably lead to a reduction in firefighter numbers. This holds true to a degree and most services have
reduced their firefighter numbers over the recent years as more appropriate staffing
models are introduced. This has seen a reduction in full time firefighters and an
increase in retained, or on call, staff. In particular there has been a significant
reduction in the number of managers in the service. The number of posts at Station
Manager and above has reduced from 4,049 in 2002 to 2,426 in 2012 – a 40%
However, the relationship between firefighter numbers and the number of fires is
not straightforward – fewer fires do not directly equal fewer firefighters. Fire and rescue services provide a service aligned to risk, not demand. While demand has fallen, risk remains and could increase given the impact that the recession is having on households and lifestyles
and theservice must provide resilience against this.
For many years, NFCC and its predecessor CFOA have argued that Fire and Rescue Services should be funded for risk not demand; the English Minister has been good to his word and Home Office colleagues are working with us to evidence this fact.
It is often said that the number of fires has fallen, this is true and very welcome, but Fire and Rescue Services should be resourcing to risk, not demand and the insurers tell us that financially large fire loses are increasing.
The IWFRS has engaged all staff and trade unions through the service review and will
continue to engage with all staff throughout the implementation of the proposals in the
IW Fire & Rescue management spoke to some operational staff in the week after the
paper had been to scrutiny committee that was only two of the four Watches: Green and Red.
The proposed new options will not guarantee the same amount of firefighters that are
The Review papers state that Response times can be improved.
This just allows the fire service to stop the clock. Crews will arrive but will not
necessarily be able to carry out full rescues with a crew of four.
The current IRMP 2014 – 2020 states that crewing and resilience should be risk based
not demand led:
Provision made in the IRMP that by 2020 IWFRS will revise and achieve risk based
response standards, match resources to risk and develop resilient response.
The current review document was based on historical data. This is also inconsistent with how
Hampshire work in their own brigade.
IRMP 2014-2020 recognises deficiencies in crewing and lack of retained cover during day
Retained cover currently 40 below establishment of 115 giving current level of 75.
No option looks at recruitment for retained to return levels to full operational capacity.
Although no station closures 7 out of the 10 are below crewing levels which affects
response at anytime not just daytime as claimed in appendix A.
This would not seem to support operational resilience
The current IRMP recognises that the in the IWFRS the workforce is the main asset and
states “the service recognises that by improving recruitment and retention It will be more effective “.
The preferred option contradicts this ethos with no recruitment program for retained and
advocating the loss of 8 whole time positions and five RDS.
From the IRMP the lack of RDS cover raises the question ‘How best to utilise immediate
response resources to cover current deficiencies?’
As a direct result of this Immediate response crew increased to boost resilience, cover short
falls in availability, keep special appliances available and carry out prevention and
Proposed job cuts directly undermines the main aims and achievements from the 2014-2020
IRMP without addressing the RDS system.
Crewing levels of 4:
This directly contradicts the parameters set out in 2014-2020 IRMP which states IWFRS will
use 5 firefighters to crew a pump as “we are able to undertake a much wider range of
emergency activities than with a crew of 4” ? The IRMP does not rule out using 4 but
states it will only be used to ensure operational resilience rather than as normal
practice. If this is to become normal practice then the IRMP needs to be changed
using due process.
IRMP Technologies procured to (cobra/PPV) were to improve firefighter safety and conditions
not replace crew members.
IW Council Cabinet have said that no public consultation was required as there was no
fundamental change to the IRMP. The above all suggests a fundamental change.
Why are the Isle of Wight rescue pumps not riding a guaranteed minimum 5 crew the same
as do Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
This new model will guarantee a minimum of 12 immediately available firefighters
crewing fire appliances who can be used across the Island for 12 hours a day, every
day. The Service will plan to have a minimum of five immediately available firefighters
during times of less demand based in Newport. This matches resources to when most
incidents occur. Analysis has also shown that this change to the deployment of
firefighters will not have any negative impact on response times. Modelling has shown
that allocating resources across the three localities can improve response standards
by 1.7 per cent.
12 firefighters divided by 3 appliances = crew of 4
There are more than 12 available most days between Newport and Ryde now !
7-10 at Newport 7 – 17 at Ryde
IWFRS have found the need to employ 8 temporary contracted RDS for the last 18
months to keep the establishment level and resilience up to strength. They know
believe they can just drop this.
This was in preparation for this review by not permanently employeeing firefighters
and has eased the financial burden. Careful planning or a Pre conceived plan ?
The whole-time crew, based in Newport overnight, will be planned on the basis of 5
firefighters on the fire engine. However, for resilience, they may occasionally have 4,
for example at time of short term sickness, or unplanned short notice leave.
This will not be achievable with the number of firefighters they are proposing
Modern equipment and techniques enables four firefighters to use safe systems of
work and this is common practice across the country. Where there exists an opportunity to preserve life or take action that will prevent an incident deteriorating,
four firefighters can establish a safe system of work for Breathing Apparatus to be
worn inside a building. Appendix C, contains the National Fire Chiefs Council, National
Operational Guidance for deploying four fire fighters.
OGBA states page 37:
Initial/rapid deployment of BA may be used where the resources available are limited at the time of
arrival to deliver the full operational plan, but where there exists an opportunity to preserve life or take action
that will prevent an incident deteriorating if the Incident Commander were to wait for additional resources.
Any deployment under these conditions should be managed under Stage I entry control procedures.
Initial/rapid deployment will only be undertaken on the instructions of the Incident Commander
following a suitable calculated assessment of the risks versus the likely benefits.
The initial/rapid deployment of BA wearers requires that the BA tallies be entered into the BA control
board with suitable and sufficient details entered (and/or telemetry established, as appropriate). BA wearers
must ensure each other’s tallies and gauges are checked and tallies placed in the BA entry control board
with ‘time in’ recorded either by themselves or by the use of an automated board.
IWFRS policy states:
The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service procedure for Rapid deployment would only
be implemented under the following conditions at an incident:
Only one pump in attendance 4 riders at least 3 of whom are BA Qualified, the
minimum requirement would be for the two BA wearers and the OIC to be competent
BA wearers and also a qualified driver/pump operator
Immediate risk to life
Prevention of significant escalation of incident Limited resources to provide a dedicated BA entry control operative Until an entry control point has been established, the OIC is responsible for BA entry control, No more than 2 BA wears in the risk area
The Incident Commander (IC) will give the order to initiate “Rapid deployment”
The BA wearers will provide the Merlin Entry Control board from the crew cab and
place at the pump bay, unless it is a Scania appliance where the board will already be
secured to the inside of the left pump bay door
The BA Team will check each other’s tally to ensure it has their name and cylinder
pressure before recording the ‘Time in’ on the tally and placing them in the board
The IC and BA wearers will ensure the green radio icon illuminates on the Merlin
board indicating satisfactory contact with the BA wearer bodyguard
The IC will maintain radio communications with the BA team
The IC will pass an informative message to control stating “Rapid Deployment Entry
Control in use”
The next pump in attendance will immediately provide an Entry Control Officer.
The full Stage 1 entry control procedure must now be implemented.
With a crew of five, the fifth person is dedicated as ‘entry control officer’, they monitor
the breathing apparatus wearers whilst they are inside the building. With four people
the person who operates the pump also carries out the role of ‘entry control officer’,
assisted by improvement in technology used by IWFRS.
The driver/pump operators role is not to carry out the role of entry control officer.
IW policy states:
Who will be the casualty carer at an RTC with no fifth person
The Service will maximise the use of its staff by having three immediately available fire
engines. This will enable the whole-time crews to assist and support the work in each
locality, and it is the intention that the crews will be heavily involved assisting existing
fire service work, alongside partners, in each locality. A ‘day crewed’ station in the Bay
is not being created nor will a whole-time crew be based at Sandown fire station.
Where will the third appliance be based ? Where is the third locality ?
The practical arrangements for the location of the fire engines, and the shift system
will be finalised during the implementation of the proposed changes and in
consultation with staff.
This has not been thought through. There is no plan on how to crew and locate fire
appliances with 50 personnel.
Options 3, 4 and 5 are recommended for approval:
3. Maintain all ten fire stations and align the revised whole-time firefighter resources to the
times of greatest demand, based on a three locality model; in order to improve the
effectiveness and efficiency of the service and levels of community safety.
This is a change of crewing/shift.
That the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection ensures that the
Chief Fire Officer takes immediate action to maintain performance standards across the
service and in any event present a report to Cabinet on the impact of the
recommendations in this paper six months following their implementation.
This is a very open statement, allowing the CFO to do whatever he wishes