Safer Together – Service Delivery Public Consultation

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service works every day with its communities and partners to prevent emergencies and to make people safer in their homes, workplaces and the places they visit.

Its Safer Together programme proposes to change the way it works, to ensure it is responding to current and future risks in Somerset and Devon. As part of the programme, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service will consider:

  • How many of its existing fire stations it still needs due to falling numbers of incidents
  • Refurbishment or rebuilding of fire stations
  • Location and number of different types of fire engines (also called appliances)
  • New types of fire engines
  • New equipment for firefighters
  • Firefighter shift patterns and duty systems
  • Improved digital technology to support it’s work

How Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has already helped reduce the number of fires

In the last 10 years, total fires have reduced by 33% across England. This reduction has largely been due to two things: work around fire prevention and protection, and changes in technology and habits. (Data 2007/08 – 2017/18 from FIRE0102 Government statistical data).

Every year the service carries out about 28,000 hours of prevention activities across Devon and Somerset, including home safety visits, school talks and visiting other groups. It also carries out out checks and audits for non-domestic premises and events – around 18,000 hours a year.

There have been significant changes in both technology and our daily habits which have impacted the number of fires. The smoking ban; changes to furniture and furnishing regulations; and even the introduction of the oven chip meaning we deep-fry less, have all contributed to reducing fire risks inside the home.

To put this into context, 56 of its fire station areas, (including Lundy) have fewer than 10 dwelling fires a year. A dwelling fire is a fire in a domestic property such as house, flats or caravan. (Data is a 5 year average taken from April 14 to March 19 inclusive).

Eight of its fire station areas, (including Lundy) have fewer than 10 fires of all types a year. This could be a minor fire such as a dustbin fire. (Data is a 5 year average taken from April 14 to March 19 inclusive).

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service needs to adapt to our ever-changing population

Not only have our lives and habits changed, our population in Devon and Somerset has changed too. In the past few years we have seen significant new housing developments across our two counties, and these new developments are continuing to grow. This means the service needs to assess where it is located in relation to this change in population size and shape.

Throug risk analysis and profiling, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service also knows that some people will be more at risk of being involved in a fatal fire due to certain factors, and needs to ensure it is able to take steps to reduce the likelihood of these incidents. For example, those aged over 85 years have a much higher rate of fatal fires. In Devon and Somerset, it is predicted that the number of people aged over 85 will nearly double (43% increase) in the next ten years.

This means the service needs to need to take steps to reduce the risk of incidents happening, through its prevention work. As part of the Safer Together proposed changes it will be looking to prioritise and increase capacity to deliver targeted prevention and protection activities in our communities.

The service has been analysing its own data as well as data from partners. This new intelligence helps it match its resources – crews, equipment and fleet – to specific risks in each of our communities. It also means the service could increase its capacity for important prevention and protection work activity within its annual budget.

Service delivery public consultation – open now until 22 September 2019

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has recently launched its Safer Together Service Delivery public consultation. Have your say on the future of its services by attending one of its consultation events, or completing the online consultation survey. You can find out more here.

Questions or feedback about Safer Together? Get in touch at safertogetherprogramme@dsfire.gov.uk.

Views wanted to help improve Somerset’s failing 111 service

Somerset residents are being asked for their views on using the county’s 111 non-emergency phone line.

The county’s independent health and care champion, Healthwatch Somerset, is asking people to share their experiences of using the service – so that the public voice can be fed into any decisions made by the commissioners later this year.

The Care Quality Commission recently rated the NHS 111 non-emergency phone line in Somerset as ‘requires improvement for being safe and effective’. The survey by Healthwatch Somerset aims to capture the patient voice to ensure their views are taken into account.

This is ahead of the move to a new Integrated Urgent Care Service for the county where Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group will be incorporating the views of service users and the public into the development of the new service model.

Emily Taylor, Manager at Healthwatch Somerset, said:

“We feel that we are undertaking this piece of work at a critical point in time. We have seen no evidence that patient feedback is being collected about the service and therefore the views of the users are not being considered in decision making.

“Going forward, we want to be in a position to let Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group know where the issues are and actively encourage changes to be made”.

Healthwatch Somerset has a seat on the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body and will monitor any actions taken following the survey.

If you would like to give feedback, take part in the survey here, contact Healthwatch Somerset at info@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk, or phone 01278 26440.  Please note that your feedback will be kept anonymous.