The development of the Fire Control Standard was driven by recent major incident events such as Grenfell and the Manchester Arena bombing. It addresses the fundamental and strategic role that Fire Control plays from initially receiving the first contact through to the very close of an incident.
From standardising and refining the efficiency of multi-agency working to providing Fire Control employees with greater avenues for career progression, this Fire Standard’s development drew on the expertise and wide knowledge of Fire Control in all operational service activity including the NFCC Fire Control Project Team, the NFCC Lead for Fire Control, the Mobilising Officers Group and control specialists from a wide range of Fire and Rescue services.
Ben Norman, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Greater Manchester and NFCC Strategic Lead for Operational Communications, said: “The benefits associated with the launch of the Fire Control Standard will include better resilience, greater strategic awareness and interest in Fire Control, improved levels of recruitment and retention and professional development opportunities. This will in turn lead to an even more effective operational response, and enhanced community safety.”
The Communication and Engagement Fire Standard clarifies the importance of effective communication and engagement in all aspects of a fire and rescue service and aims to ensure fire and rescue services have defined approaches on how to strategically communicate to all stakeholders, both internally and externally.
Accessible, and inclusive communication and engagement are fundamental in building a positive working environment and culture and are key in keeping communities safe. The new Standard reaffirms that good communication is the responsibility of everyone.
FirePRO, the membership body for communications professionals working in fire and rescue, developed the standards working with the Fire Standards Board and engaging with industry leaders both from the Chartered Institute for Public Relations and the Local Government Association.
Paul Compton, who was Chair of FirePRO between 2019 and 2022, and who led on the development of the Standard said: “When I became Chair of FirePRO with responsibility for supporting improvements in practice across the sector, the one thing that was missing was the standard to aim for. We now have that firmly in place.“
“Communicators in fire and rescue achieve a huge amount, often with little resource and tight budgets. The reach and impact fire and rescue has within communities across the country is huge, and often proof that communications can be an intervention that saves lives.“
“This Fire Standard will give an even bigger focus on where strategic communications and engagement can benefit services, encouraging consistency across the sector, reaffirming that good communications and engagement is everyone’s responsibility.”
As with all Fire Standards, there are corresponding Gap Analysis Tools to support services with implementation. These tools help services in both assessing how well they currently meet Fire Standards as well as considering any additional actions that may be required to achieve them.
Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire Chris Philp said: “I am delighted to see the launch of the Communication and Engagement and Fire Control Standards, to support all fire and rescue services in ensuring community and efficiency is at the heart of their work.“
“These Standards demonstrate that continuing to improve the quality of service and communication provided to the public is of the highest importance, as well as supporting professional development of fire and rescue employees across the country.“
“We expect all fire and rescue services to review and implement any changes needed to deliver consistent excellence to the public”.
Chair of the Fire Standards Board, Suzanne McCarthy, said: “The launch of these two new Fire Standards is a significant step forward in helping services deliver the right behaviours and values across fire and rescue services. They build on our increasing suite of standards, which together support and enable services to drive continuous improvement.”
“I want to thank all the individuals and services for their contributions towards the content of these Fire Standards. Like the others published, these have been developed by the service for the service, acknowledging and incorporating what good looks like.”
The Fire Standard Board oversees the identification, organisation, development and maintenance of professional Standards for fire and rescue services in England.