Kent Fire and Rescue to speak at Council meeting

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Kent Fire and Rescue to speak at Council meeting

Posted: 27/11/2007 18:20:46

Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority has welcomed the opportunity speak at Folkestone Town Council’s meeting on Thursday and explain the reasons why it is proposing changes in Folkestone as part of a continuing programme to make the best use of resources in the fight against death and injuries from fire and other disasters.

The Authority recently approved its new Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP), which includes the proposals about Folkestone, to go out for consultation.

This plan sets out how the Authority will build on its previous success and ensure that Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is making the best use of new life-saving technology such as positive pressure ventilation (PPV). This is a powerful, fan-based system that rapidly reduces smoke in fire-hit structures. It provides safer working conditions for firefighters, allowing a faster, more aggressive response to fires and for people to be rescued more safely and quickly.

And to reduce the chances of fires happening in the first place firefighters continue to increase their commitment to community safety – helping people to keep themselves safe – and encourage safer buildings with sprinkler systems. Even more investment can be expected from a government grant which will be awarded to KFRS if it meets its public service agreement target to reduce deliberate fires. Numbers of fire deaths, injuries and fires are all down compared to last year and work continues to keep these figures as low as possible.

To ensure that this success continues and that new equipment goes where it is needed most the IRMP contains a number of proposals for consultation. These include the use of height vehicles across the county, the provision of fire services in Medway and Thanet, the use of three fire engines in Folkestone and its fire safety service for businesses.

KMFRA Chairman Bryan Cope said: “As an ‘excellent’ rated organisation, people expect us to continue to improve our service and provide value for money.

“To do this we need to look at a number of different areas of our work to make sure we have the right number of people, with the right skills and in the right places to provide the best possible service to the community.”

KFRS Chief Fire Officer Charlie Hendry said: “We are building on the work started three years ago, to reduce risks and make the best use of our resources across the area. We know from earlier research that our emergency services are broadly in the right places but over the next three years we plan to test whether the level of service availability is right.

“This plan sets out our approach to developments and resources and it’s our chance to ask the public and our staff about developments to the service – their views are extremely important to us.”

Letters about the changes have been sent to business, stakeholders and partner organisations in the Folkestone area with an offer to come and explain what is being proposed. Talks have already been given to Hythe Town Council and Shepway District Council. Businesses were also invited to come to the Channel Chamber of Commerce on 27 November to talk to Kent Fire and Rescue Service officers. Presentations are also being given to all Kent MPs, Crime and Disorder Groups across Kent and the Medway and West Kent Deaf Forum. Any other organisations who would like a presentation should contact Suzi Christie on 01622 698241.

Copies of the consultation document are being made widely available as part of an extensive consultation programme that will last for three months. Members of the public can complete an on-line survey or request a copy by emailing irmp@kent.fire-uk.org| or telephoning 01622 692121. Everyone who responds will go into a draw to win a VIP visit to their local fire station.

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