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Fire Standards Board introduces seventh professional Fire Standard

10 August 2021

THE FIRE Standards Board has launched its seventh professional Fire Standard. It’s focused on Prevention. Alongside the Protection Fire Standard, which is due for publication in early September, this sees the completion of Fire Standards covering the three pillars of service delivery for Fire and Rescue Services: Operational Response, Prevention and Protection.

With Prevention specifically, and in response to the findings from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services on targeting the right people, having consistency in the approach taken and evaluating Prevention activities will be key to improving the health, safety and well-being of communities.

The Prevention Fire Standard is underpinned by the work of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Prevention Programme. That organisation’s work on the person-centred approach and other guidance and tools will be pivotal to supporting Fire and Rescue Services in the future.

A Fire Standard focused on Resilience and Emergency Planning is part of the next phase of standards development. Other Fire Standards in development include those on the subjects of Safeguarding, Fire Investigation, Leadership (covering Fire and Rescue Service Leadership, Leadership Development and Fire and Rescue Service Management) and Data Management.

Determining the scope

The journey to develop the first professional Fire Standards for Fire and Rescue Services in England in over a decade started in 2019 with the establishment of the Fire Standards Board itself. To help determine the scope of the Fire Standards, work was undertaken by the Board to understand the activities carried out by all Fire and Rescue Services and where standards were needed and should apply. This resulted in the development of an Activity Framework.

The latter acts as a roadmap for the Board, helping it to plan its development work and to identify and avoid areas of overlap or duplication.

The Fire Standards Board found that much of what would support each Fire Standard already existed in the form of good practice guidance and tools produced by the NFCC. However, without the national recognition that a Fire Standard provides, application across the country was varied and inconsistent.

The Board considered many factors when deciding on the scope of each Fire Standard and the order in which they should be produced. It was believed to be imperative that the first Fire Standards to be developed should help to address the areas for improvement identified and highlighted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

Ultimately, driving improvement and seeing more consistency in how Fire and Rescue Services deliver for the public across the country are the Fire Standards Board’s overarching goals.

Reducing risk, preventing harm

Fire Standards Board chair Suzanne McCarthy explained: “Ensuring that Fire and Rescue Services target the right people when delivering prevention initiatives and effectively evaluating their work is essential to help reduce risk and prevent harm in our communities. Like all Fire Standards, this latest Prevention Standard will help to clarify what’s expected of Fire and Rescue Services to enable them to deliver the best service possible to the public no matter where they happen to be located in England.”

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh responded: “I’m delighted that another Fire Standard is being launched to provide clear support for – and outline the expectations of – our Fire and Rescue Services. This Prevention Standard sets the bar such that Fire and Rescue Services can keep communities all over England safe by adopting a consistent and targeted approach to stop fires from happening in the first place.”