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Emergency calls

Theme 6

Emergency calls

Last updated: 14 February 2022

Recommendation

33.15a

That the London Fire Brigade’s policies be amended to draw a clearer distinction between callers seeking advice and callers who believe they are trapped and need rescuing.

Responsible for completion:

  • London Fire Brigade

Progress

Status

Complete

London Fire Brigade has reported that this recommendation has been completed. 

The London Fire Brigade has produced guidance on drawing a clearer distinction between callers seeking advice and callers who believe they are trapped and need rescuing, within Appendix 1 of Policy Number 790 (Fire Survival Guidance), published on 31 March 2021, following a Brigade wide training programme.

Recommendation

33.15b

That the London Fire Brigade provide regular and more effective refresher training to control room operators at all levels, including supervisors.

Responsible for completion:

  • London Fire Brigade

Progress

Status

Complete

London Fire Brigade has reported that this recommendation has been completed. 

The London Fire Brigade’s Control staff began their training on the revised Policy Number 790 (Fire Survival Guidance) in December 2020, with maintenance of competency requirements for staff set out within the Control element of the Brigade’s ‘Development and Maintenance of Operational Professionalism’ (DaMOP) framework, implemented in July 2020.

Recommendation

33.15c

That all fire and rescue services develop policies for handling a large number of fire survival guidance calls simultaneously.

Progress date:

April 2023

Responsible for completion:

  • Fire and Rescue Services

Progress

Status for fire and rescue services

In progress

Status for London Fire Brigade

Complete

National Operational Guidance for Fire Survival Guidance calls was published in July 2021.

The Government and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) collaborated to produce technological solutions to allow fire control rooms to share information about risk critical information, including fire survival guidance calls, simultaneously. All services now have access to this system.

In March 2022, the NFCC surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against recommendation 33.15c:

  • 51% of services (22 services) reported they have completed this recommendation. This represents a 28% increase from the previous NFCC survey completed in July 2021.
  • 49% (21 services) have reviewed their policies but are still in process of making the necessary changes to complete this recommendation.

By April 2022, 88% of services will have completed this recommendation. This represents a slight improvement from the previous NFCC survey (July 2021) where it was reported that 82% of services will have completed this recommendation.

To explain this progress for the 49% of services yet to complete this recommendation, the majority are either still in the process of training their staff or are in the process of instigating changes to relevant policies that have been reviewed.

By April 2023, every fire and rescue service expects to have completed this recommendation.

London Fire Brigade has reported that recommendation 33.15c has been completed. 

The training for the revised Policy Number 790 (Fire Survival Guidance) and the Broadcast National Talk Group has been completed. Policy Number 790 was published on the 31st March 2021 and the Broadcast National Talk Group went live in February 2021.

The Brigade’s Fire Survival Guidance (FSG) Policy has been shared as national learning and support a new project to establish National Operational Guidance (including FSG) for Control rooms. This guidance also includes the use of a National Talk Group for sharing risk critical information.

Recommendation

33.15d

That electronic systems be developed to record fire survival guidance information in the control room and display it simultaneously at the bridgehead and in any command units

Progress date:

April 2023

Responsible for completion:

  • Fire and Rescue Services

Progress

Status for fire and rescue services

In progress

Status for London Fire Brigade

Complete

In March 2022, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against recommendation 33.15d:

  • 72% of services (31 services) have taken actions that allow information to be effectively captured and shared.
  • 28% of services (12 services) are yet to action this recommendation.

This represents no change from the previous NFCC survey completed in July 2021. To explain this progress, the 28% of services yet to action this recommendation are still in the process of exploring available solutions to allow information to be effectively captured and shared.

London Fire Brigade’s ‘sector leading’ technical initiative has been a matter of interest for many services who are considering how this could be incorporated into their own local arrangements.

On implementing recommendation 33.15d, the London Fire Brigade has developed a technological solution which enables information from Fire Survival Guidance (FSG) calls to be displayed simultaneously at the incident and in Control. The introduction of the application was previously delayed due to technical issues which have now been resolved.

The Brigade consider this recommendation complete with the FSG application having gone live in March 2022.

Recommendation

33.15e

That policies be developed for managing a transition from “stay put” to “get out”.

Progress date:

April 2023

Responsible for completion:

  • Fire and Rescue Services

Progress

Status for fire and rescue services

In progress

Status for London Fire Brigade

Complete

In March 2022, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against recommendation 33.15e:

  • 30% of services (13 services) have reported that they had completed this recommendation including training and assessing staff. This represents a 16% increase from the previous NFCC survey completed in July 2021.
  • 58% of services (25 services) will have completed this by April 2022
  • 12% of services (five services) are yet to make the necessary changes to action this recommendation.

Services will continue to update their policies as research being carried out by Government and revised National Operational Guidance become available.

London Fire Brigade has reported that recommendation 33.15e has been completed.

The guidance for managing the transition from ‘stay put’ to ‘get out’ is provided in the revised Policy Number 790 (Fire Survival Guidance) and the new Evacuation and Rescue policies, both of which were published in March 2021. All operational and Control staff have completed mandatory training on both policies.

 

Recommendation

33.15f

That control room staff receive training directed specifically to handling such a change of advice and conveying it effectively to callers.

Progress date:

April 2023

Responsible for completion:

  • Fire and Rescue Services

Progress

Status for fire and rescue services

In progress

Status for London Fire Brigade

Complete

In March 2022, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against the recommendations. In relation to 33.15f (which is linked to recommendation 33.15e):

  • 23% of services (10 services) said they have completed this recommendation
  • 18% of services (eight services) have made the necessary changes but are still training their staff
  • 82% of services reported they will have completed the required actions by April 2022

This represents a minimal change in progress from the previous NFCC survey completed in July 2021. This can be explained by the interdependency of this recommendation to recommendation 33.15e. Services who are yet to make the necessary changes to their evacuation policies need to do this issue first before being able to train their staff on these policies.

  • 93% of services (40 services) report they will have completed required actions to address this recommendation by April 2023.

London Fire Brigade has reported that recommendation 33.15f has been completed as training for all Control staff has been completed and the learning embedded by participation in a series of high-rise firefighting exercises.

Recommendation

33.16

That steps be taken to investigate methods by which assisting control rooms can obtain access to the information available to the host control room.

Progress date:

April 2022

Responsible for completion:

  • Fire and Rescue Services

Progress

Status for fire and rescue services

In progress

Status for London Fire Brigade

Complete

The Government is working in partnership with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to implement infrastructure and strategic solutions for control rooms to improve the sharing of risk critical information between fire control rooms, and in the longer term, between fire and police/ambulance control rooms. This will allow the transfer of information between control rooms to be electronic instead of a control room operator having to manually contact the other service by telephone. The system is called “Multi Agency Information Transfer” (MAIT) and will allow information to be transferred between control rooms much quicker. This project is progressing well and market engagement with suppliers of the MAIT system took place in March 2022.

 Whilst the MAIT project is under way, in the meantime, the Government has worked with the NFCC to establish a separate Broadcast Talkgroup to improve information sharing between control rooms. This has been achieved by introducing two new Airwave Talkgroups (radio channels), a “Fire Broadcast Talkgroup” and a “JESIP (Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles) Multi Agency Talkgroup” to improve the sharing of information between fire, police and ambulance.

The Broadcast Talkgroup went live in England and Scotland in October 2020 and in Wales in December 2020. This means that if a fire and rescue service becomes overwhelmed with emergency calls, the affected service can now make an announcement on their control room Airwave Radio, and it will be received in every control room across the county simultaneously. The system has gone through extensive testing with successful results and is now in operational use in England Scotland and Wales under “Business as Usual”. The JESIP Talk group is now live in all Fire Control Rooms and the NFCC has released guidance to support its use. 

In conjunction with the NFCC’s Central Programme Office, the Government has provided funding for two Fire Control Managers to be seconded to assist with development of the National Operational Guidance for Fire Control staff. This included updating the current Fire Survival Guidance and training.

Fire Survival Guidance in buildings has now been published. Fire and rescue services are now able to integrate this guidance into their own policies and procedures.

The two secondees have produced guidance for Fire Control Command. This document has now been published. Fire and rescue services are now able to integrate this guidance into their own policies and procedures.

 The secondees have also been working alongside the NFCC Central Programme team to develop guidance for Emergency Call Management (People at Risk) which went through a peer review prior to going into full consultation in February 2022.

Work is in progress to produce guidance for fire control staff for handling multiple emergency calls and multiple emergency incidents. This guidance has undergone peer review prior to going into full consultation in March 2022.  

To address this recommendation, fire and rescue services must embed the policies and training to support fire control room personnel in the use of the Airwave Talk Groups.

The Home Office and NFCC have worked with BT to establish a more robust way of dealing with Fire Control Rooms becoming overwhelmed with emergency calls resulting from large or protracted incidents.

A procedure has been developed and tested and is currently operational in England, Scotland and Wales on a six month pilot. This means that BT now has a predetermined redistribution plan of how to distribute overflow calls efficiently between other fire and rescue services during periods when a single control room has become overwhelmed with 999 calls due to a large, protracted incident or spate conditions.  

In March 2022, the NFCC surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against recommendation 33.16.

For this recommendation, 100% of services (43 services) have, in relation to the Airwave Talk Groups, embedded technical changes to the way information is shared between fire control rooms and between fire, police and ambulance services. This will ensure that accurate and timely information will be available to any service that handles a call for a major incident not in their area, based on the decisions being made in real time on the incident ground. This is currently in use by all fire and rescue services. 

The full completion of this recommendation is dependent on the rollout of MAIT. Procurement of the platform is currently underway supported by the NFCC, to make this system available to all fire and rescue services. Procurement is expected to be completed in Autumn 2022. 

With the establishment of the Broadcast Talkgroup, the National Fire Chiefs Council have provided guidance on the Talkgroup.

London Fire Brigade have reported that recommendation 33.16 has been completed as all Control officers have received training on the Talkgroup’s protocol. It is further reported that the Brigade’s Vision mobilising system is Multi Agency Incident Transfer (MAIT) enabled in preparation for the implementation of MAIT in 2022.

Recommendation

33.17

That the London Ambulance Service and Metropolitan Police Service review their protocols and policies to ensure that their operators can identify fire survival guidance calls (as defined by the London Fire Brigade) and pass them to the London Fire Brigade as soon as possible.

Responsible for completion:

  • London Ambulance Service and Metropolitan Police

Progress

Status

Complete

London Fire Brigade has informed us that its revised Policy Note 790 ‘Fire Survival Guidance’, published on 31 March 2021, has been shared with the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Ambulance Service, together with a briefing note to support an increased understanding of the policy revisions.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and London Ambulance Service (LAS) have both reported to the Mayor of London that they have reviewed protocols on Fire Survival Guidance calls to ensure these are passed to the London Fire Brigade. Therefore, this recommendation is considered to be completed.