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Changing response to non-statutory services

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Changing response to Automatic Fire Alarms

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Welcome from the Chief Fire Officer

Chief 2

Our aim is to protect communities before emergencies occur and to provide a professional, efficient and effective fire and rescue service for all who live, work and travel throughout North Wales.

Changing our response to non-statutory services and automatic fire alarms

As you may have heard in previous weeks, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is introducing a change in the way it will respond to non-statutory services, involving large animal and rope rescues, and to automatic fire alarms.

From the 1st of April 2015, the specialist response currently based in Colwyn Bay Fire Station will no longer assist in the recovery of large animals or in recoveries involving specialist rope rescues, and we will no longer send an emergency response to most automatic fire alarm actuations unless a back-up 999 call is received confirming there is a fire.

This was not a decision that was taken lightly by the Fire Authority members in December 2014, but the Service is faced with a potential shortfall in the budget for the next five years in the region of up to £3.3 million, which could very well threaten our core fire and rescue services. It was therefore decided the Service would reduce these services as part of a strategy to avoid having to make any reduction in our core services.

We are liaising with partner organisations to introduce these changes in April and to raise awareness amongst the public to minimise any confusion and risk, and in many respects the public will not notice a change.

Large animal rescues already frequently necessitate attendance by a veterinary practitioner to provide advice on animal wellbeing and are almost always attended by officers from the RSPCA. What will stop is our specialist response which often involves considerable travelling time over varying distances and which ties up our resources for lengthy periods, preventing us from attending life threatening fires or road traffic collisions.

Cutting back on services which are attended by other agencies will help us maintain the current level of service and fulfil our duty to protect the public of North Wales, prevent against risk, and to respond as required to fires and road traffic incidents.

We are currently advising the public that from 1st April, the first point of call for anyone concerned about an animal should be their veterinary practitioner and the RSPCA, and in the event that they require rope rescue advice they should seek assistance by reporting the incident to North Wales Police.

But of course, the best course of action is always prevention - and we would encourage people to try to ensure they continue to take extra precautions to prevent requiring assistance in the first place, and that means for example taking steps to provide secure and well maintained enclosures and avoiding dangerous situations.

With the changes being introduced in relation to automatic fire alarms, I would like to remind the public that it is the legal responsibility of the responsible persons detailed in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for the property to have in place a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment that details among other measures what actions are to be taken upon actuation of the alarm system. One such action is to investigate the reason for the actuation of the alarm system and notify the fire and rescue service via 999 if a fire is confirmed. There will be however some exemptions to the new arrangements involving residential property.

Further information can be found on our website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk, including answers to frequently asked questions and details of how to contact us if you are unsure about these new arrangements and still have a query.     


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