Working towards a 'new normal'

The National Fire Chiefs Council spoke to the Emergency Services Times for its latest edition with a focus on NFCC's response to COVID-19 - and other work being undertaken as we move towards a 'new normal'. 

The article provides an overview of NFCC's work, led by NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher and NFCC's National Resilience lead & C19 Committee Chair Phil Garrigan.

The new NFCC C19 Committee will draw on additional sector expertise to lead on specific issues, to enable NFCC to continues it work and support FRSs.

This will help to reduce pressures on the wider FRS, while supporting other frontline services and local communitiies. The Committee will also draw on lessons learned from the response to the pandemic.  

The article also outlines the next stage as we move from response to recovery, and what a new 'business as usual' look like?

What is very clear, is that like other frontline services, the back to normal for the NFCC and the UK FRS will be a ‘new normal'. For the NFCC it’s still very early days as the C19 Committee evolves, but members are  committed to learn from the last few weeks, using best practice to map out its new normal to ensure they continue to be Ready Willing and Able to deal with whatever lies ahead.

NFCC Chair: “It’s in the DNA of Fire and Rescue Services to do whatever they can to serve our communities and we must recognise the value they can bring in assisting others. But this wasn’t just about FRS staff doing their jobs. As well as ensuring we responded to the national ask, local requests through Local Resilience Forums and our own business continuity, there was a willingness to get involved and assist so that no one would look back in months to come and feel we could have done more. The low absence figures for all staff during this crisis have been a testament to that commitment.”

Phil Garrigan, NFCC National Resilience Lead and Chair of the C19 Committee, said: “The purpose of the C19 Committee is to ensure seamless transition from response to recovery, with that in mind we will start to gather the learning. We will be asking what we have learned through the pandemic, what have we learned about the way the NFCC and Fire and Rescue Services work. And then how we feed that into what we do in the future but also look at how we ensure it forms part of the UK learning.

“Recovery will be a key element of the committee and that’s recovery as a sector but also recovery with regard to the respective service areas and how we continue to support our communities over the next 12 months, in conjunction with the government’s COVID 19 Act.”

Moving forwards: from emergency to recovery

The article looks at how 'there’s never going to be a hard stop between emergency and recovery - there will always be transition. As the easing of lockdown measures continue, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has established a ‘COVID-19 Committee’ that will coordinate continued C19 activity, support recovery  and collate key learning from dealing with the pandemic.

Clear guidance

Implementing solid governance, effective and agile communications and solution-focused conversations with other stakeholders, including the Home Office, National Employers and the Fire Brigades Union, has enabled NFCC to offer exceptional support for FRSs during the pandemic. This support has included the adoption of a national approach, reducing pressure on FRSs and giving clear guidance and positions.

National learning

The committee will also look to take and incorporate some of the learning to ensure NFCC is as well, if not better prepared for another extraordinary event of this kind and to feed into any national learning.

There are many more discussions to be had around technology and how new ways of working using digital platforms could play a key part of the work of Fire and Rescue Services particularly around education, training and staff engagement, to make the best impact.


EST Article June 2020 EST subscription link 


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