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Fire Service adopts graded response procedure

13 July 2018

FOLLOWING A Health and Safety led review of all operational and non-operational driving related policies and with public safety in mind, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) has now adopted a new Graded Response Procedure to be used when responding to incidents.

The new procedure will now mean that incidents the Service is called to will receive a more in depth risk assessment in Fire Control. Previously calls were either determined to be emergency or non-emergency, however in the new procedure there is now a new category of 'prompt' response that fits in between emergency and non-emergency, for lower risk calls.

The public should be assured that all calls where there is a fire or other emergency that poses a risk to life or significant risk to property will still receive a full blue light response and crews will attend as quickly as is safely possible. Lower risk calls where life and property are not at imminent risk may now receive a 'prompt' response whereby crews will travel at normal road speeds and not under blue lights, except where there is significant road congestion or extended distances which would unreasonably delay their attendance. In this case blue lights may only be used for parts of a journey to ensure a prompt attendance.

Also under the new procedure the responding crews will reassess the call type and proposed response before deployment, to determine whether the blue light exemptions to road traffic legislation (particularly the use of speed in excess of posted limits) are justified and proportionate to the potential incident.

Non-emergency calls where there is no discernible risk to life or property will continue to receive a non-emergency response. Should at any time information be received where the risk appears to change then the speed of response will also be changed accordingly.

The use of the exemptions in road traffic legislation and the use of blue lights pose a higher, but necessary risk to the responders and other road users, therefore it is important that the use of these exemptions are risk assessed on a call by call basis, and a justifiable and proportionate rationale needs to be applied.

HWFRS is joining many other emergency services that already use a similar type of risk assessed 'graded' response procedure, which ultimately enhances road safety for everyone when responding to incidents.