In the year 2000, fire crews were attending around 6,000 fires in North Wales every year. By now they typically attend around 2,500 fires per year – welcome evidence of the effectiveness of the fire prevention strategy.
Other parts of the public sector, however, have not seen a similar reduction in demand, so we have been exploring the possibility of involving fire and rescue service personnel in helping to improve people’s lives in different ways.
That is why we have been branching out beyond traditional organisational boundaries - with the emphasis on helping to ensure members of the public receive services which are easily accessible, reliable, timely and of high quality.
It takes time to organise, train and equip staff for new roles, for them to share learning and build up experience as well as expertise. The less visible aspects such as work plans, contracts, financial arrangements, information management and reporting also need to be organised.
But we have started trialling and introducing some new initiatives with our partners, so as well as saving lives, we hope to reduce the pressure and demands on other public services in North Wales. At the end of these projects, we will evaluate the overall impact of taking on these new services into the future.