Fire Crews attend 869 fires in six months
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, was provided with an update on the performance of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) at his CFRS Public Accountability Conference on 7 December 2023.
Between 1 April 2023 and 31 October 2023, 75% of primary property fire emergencies have been reached by fire crews within 10 minutes, 87% of all other emergencies within 15 minutes. Within the same timeframe, CFRS attended 869 fires. Accidental residential fires accounted for 88 of these incidents. The service saw a peak in fires during June 2023, where 220 fires were attended. In June 2023, the Service saw a rise in anti-social behaviour with fire-setting becoming a regular occurrence amongst the youth in Barrow-in-Furness. CFRS worked in partnership with Police and provided talks within local schools and working with the known offenders to reduce this behaviour. In the following month, the service attended 103 fires countywide, a 53.2% decrease from June. Between 1 April 2023 and 31 October 2023, CFRS have attended 125 Road Traffic Collisions (RTC) across the county, with four fatalities. This attendance peaked in August where crews attended 27 RTCs, when Cumbria’s roads became busier with summer traffic.
In terms of prevention, CFRS has completed over 5,000 targeted Home Safety Visits this year, more than three time the national average when compared to Fire Services across the country. Home Safety Visits provide residents with a fire safety assessment to highlight any potential hazards and give advice as to how residents can keep their homes as safe as possible from fire. CFRS has conducted 731 protection audits on businesses between 1 April 2023 and 31 October 2023 to ensure that properties used for business purposes are up to the appropriate standard, reduce the risk of fires and protect the lives of employees and customers in the event of a fire.
Since September 2023, CFRS completed 352 community engagement events to provide prevention advice and educate the public. These engagement events include attending 20 community events, providing 82 fire safety sessions, providing 59 CPR sessions, and 29 road safety sessions with an overall audience reach of 35,000 both online and offline.
During the Public Accountability Conference, Chief Fire Officer, Rick Ogden, also provided an update to the PFCC on the internal work being done to address the concerns raised by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The end of year performance reports at PAC gives me the opportunity to scrutinise CFRS and hold the Service to account on their performance on behalf of the public.
“I am pleased to hear that CFRS attend 87% of all emergency calls within 15 minutes. Given that Cumbria is a large, rural community with many single-track roads, and remote towns and villages this really is a good performance and should give residents that when we need their help CFRS do respond quickly.
“Prevention and education are key areas of work for CFRS with crews and staff continuously promoting safety advice at community events, attending 5,000 residents’ homes to provide home safety advice – as well as social wellbeing checks on the more vulnerable residents. Attending businesses to ensure they are also up to code is extremely important to help protect the public, residents, and visitors, from being involved in avoidable accidents.
“It has been eight months since I have taken on governance responsibility for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, and I have been impressed by the dedication and determination of all Firefighters and staff to deliver an outstanding and ever improving service to the public and I look forward to continuing to work with Chief Fire Officer, and his team, to develop and improve the service even further
“Overall, CFRS are doing a great job at keeping the public safe and whilst there is still work to do not least to stabilise and secure future funding and support services for which, planning is now in hand, we can be confident that our Fire Fighters are delivering a great service to residents. “
Chief Fire Officer, Rick Ogden, said: “I am pleased to update the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner on the progress being made at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
“The progress demonstrated in response to the findings of the HMICFRS report, coupled with the excellent performance figures, demonstrate that the service is keeping the people of Cumbria safe.
“I have prioritised the need to support the most vulnerable people in Cumbria, and the increase in the number of targeted Home Safety Visits demonstrates that our service is doing just that. I am equally pleased to report on the wide range of community engagement demonstrated by the service, including open days, school visits and our participation in community events.
“For a service that covers a large rural area and the challenges that brings, our availability figures for our on-call crews and appliances puts us in a strong position nationally and this is something in which we take great pride.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner over the coming months to build on this excellent performance.”