Prevention is a big part of the job for a Firefighter

When joining the Service, you realise the role is so much more than responding to incidents, take a look at the most recent activity our stations have been involved with alongside our risk reduction team

Launch of new education pack – EYFS Disco!

In January, the Children and Young People team (CYP) launched the new DISCO pack.

The Early Years Fire Service DISCO pack includes a pop-up fire engine, miniature uniforms, storybooks and fire engine puzzle, alongside detailed images of equipment and firefighters’ PPE to help the children link the world of play with the Fire Service. The aim of the packs is to ensure that, even from a young age, children begin to build a positive perception of the Fire Service and understand that we’re here to help and keep them safe.

Partnership with the Prince’s Trust

At the end of last year, the CYP team and crews at Yate delivered the first ‘Get Started’ week in partnership with the Prince’s Trust. The week of activities was designed to get young people who have struggled with social isolation during the pandemic engaged in improving their health and fitness and reinforcing the link between physical and mental wellbeing.

Following its success, AF&RS have been asked to run further ‘Get Started’ programmes as well as individual experience days. If you have any special interests or skills and would like to get involved in a ‘Get Started’ programme, please contact the CYP team.

School safety sessions coming to stations

A schedule of primary school safety sessions are due to be delivered on station during the summer holidays. The plan is to reinforce and extend the safety messaging children living in higher risk areas have previously received from a school visit.

Impact of Covid-19 on HFSV

The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on us all, and for the Service it was important that we could continue to support our communities in being and feeling safe at home and requests for Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) referrals continued.

Everyone in the system was contacted to ensure they were OK and home fire safety advice was shared over the phone. Those who needed extra support were referred to befriending services and signposted to local support groups if food parcels were required. We were also able to adapt our visits and once lockdown had lifted, we were able to get to people who had been waiting within six weeks.

During 2020/21 financial year, we delivered 3032 HFSVs, ensuring many local people were given important home fire safety advice.

What’s the Building Risk Review Programme (BRRP)?

The objective of the Building Risk Review Programme (BRRP) is to demonstrate to the Secretary of State that AF&RS are aware of the various elements and subsequent risks that external wall systems may pose on fire safety in high rise residential buildings and, in turn, supporting the commercial property and business sector with reducing the risk and remediation.

Following the first step in the national BRRP, which covered the inspection of aluminium composite materials (ACM) clad high-rise residential buildings, the second step involved inspecting 187 high-rise residential buildings (18 metres and above in height) which were not already covered as part of phase one of the BRR exercise.

The aims of the inspections:

  • Provide the FRS with information about the design of its external walls together with details of the materials.
  • Understand the fire safety arrangements, for example fire safety management, building construction, the means of escape and maintenance of active systems such as fire warning systems and sprinklers and evacuation strategy.
  • Assess buildings from an ‘operational risk’

Using a combination of information obtained during inspections, technical guidance   and analysis of fire and structural engineer reports, the team were able to capture the data, triage buildings and prioritise in order of risk. We supported responsible persons in reducing any risks and making premises safer for residents and fire fighters.

Consequently, certain buildings had to change they’re evacuation strategy from “stay put” to “simultaneous” evacuation. This was due to the external wall system (EWS) being identified as unsuitable, not providing the appropriate fire performance and evaluated as a higher risk. This led to prioritisation of 7.2d familiarisation visits and a change in our level of response.

The Business Fire Safety team worked extremely hard to complete all 187 inspections along with understanding the evolving government advice to enable the appropriate support to business owners. In December 2021, all 187 inspections were completed two weeks ahead of schedule. Business Fire Safety will continue to support buildings owners with remediation of external wall systems, within a suitable time frame.

AF&RS involvement with Ashton Gate Stadium (AGS)

Following the Hillsborough disaster, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) was formed to bring better regulations to sports grounds. Larger sport grounds – including AGS – require a Safety Certificate which is issued annually by the local authority. AF&RS, through the Business Fire Safety team, provide advice and guidance to Bristol City Council (BCC) through a Safety Advisory Group (SAG), which meets several times per year to discuss safety issues within and around the stadium. Over recent years we have played a key role in provision of safe standing, concerts and the stadium redevelopment including the building of the Sports and Convention Centre.

We inspect the stadium annually when it’s empty but, to get a better assessment, we also conduct ‘During Performance Inspections’ when it’s in full use. We had the chance to watch a bit of a game but missed Bristol City scoring!

As holding capacities and emergency egress is in our remit, we’ve worked closely with AGS on hosting concerts. SAG worked behind the scenes to help ensure AGS put safe systems in place and considered traffic management, crowd control, crowd behaviour/dynamics, stand integrity, and counter terrorism. Each concert was a valuable learning lesson and as we move forward, we will work even closer with AGS to ensure capacity figures remain safe and manageable through the re-redevelopment, and to ensure the access and facilities afforded to us remain viable.

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