I received two updates last week on the emergency response to the heatwave. I thought they were worth sharing here so you can see how the challenges were dealt with. I’m already talking to the Fire Service about how communities can be more involved in fire prevention work locally and the Scrutiny Committee at County Hall (I am a member of the committee) has asked for a report on the heatwave response so I will hopefully be able to provide more updates soon.
From: Executive Director Strategy & TransformationSent: 20 July 2022 18:23 To: Members Subject: RE: For Information: Heatwave Incident Response Update (members)
The Major Incident for the Fire Service has now been stood down. We still have crews at some incidents, but we have returned to our normal service arrangements. We have issued public messages thanking both our staff and residents for their support during the past 24 hours. Our crews have shown great professionalism and worked incredibly hard to keep Norfolk safe and our residents have supported us greatly through their practical assistance but also kind words on social media.
We are able to stand down the Major Incident as call volumes are reducing and we have been able to provide respite to our crews by drawing on national mutual aid. For example we have had crews from across the country supporting us. Appliances from as far afield as Merseyside, Tyne &Wear and Avon attended incidents during the course of today and we will keep these national assets until tomorrow morning. We are expecting temperatures to reduce over the next couple of days but the risks still remain in that ground conditions are still very dry. Our public safety messages continue to be to keep fire safety in mind and take sensible precautions such as not lighting bonfires or barbecues on the grass, to avoid any further incidents.
By way of scale the total number of calls received in control yesterday was 4688, this included for example 124 duplicated calls re the Ashill incident alone. Crews attended 280 incidents compared to 41 incidents on the same day last year.
Over the course of today crews and other emergency services will have been at sites ensuring safety and managing the consequences of yesterdays events. Districts and partners supported and will continue to manage the consequences of evacuation or housing provision. This article gives a good summary of the extreme efforts over the last couple of days. Five firefighters were injured in our response.
Though our Fire Services have been the most visible and high profile part of our response to the heatwave, wider services have of course all played a part in responding to the heatwave – whether behind the scenes services such as Communications, Emergency Planning and Resilience to our call centre staff as well as Highways services and social care staff who were supporting vulnerable people and contributing to the provision of our wider health and care system.
As things stand, the risk of significant downpours that might lead to flooding appears to be a low risk. If that changes and there are wider incident responses over the next few days I will keep you updated.
From: Executive Director Strategy & TransformationSent: 19 July 2022 19:24 To: Members Subject: For Information: Heatwave Incident Response Update (members)
I am the on call Executive Director this week and I wanted to give you an update on the incident response that is underway. It is a wide ranging and dynamic series of situations that have occurred over the course of today and so this is a general update relevant to this point in time. I will do another update tomorrow and as the week progresses if relevant.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have declared a Major Incident due to the demands caused by ongoing incidents related to the current heatwave. Over the course of today all appliances have been either committed to ongoing incidents or have been alerted to a state of standby for incoming calls. As you would expect in major incidents additional Command, Control and Mobilising arrangements have been implemented to manage the increased volume of calls and incidents, and to ensure the best balance of available appliances across the county.
Via our social media channels and the local media we have advised the public that while the incident is ongoing, we must prioritise resources and asked that they only contact Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service with emergency calls. You may have seen on this evenings Look East that a TV crew were shadowing our staff today and we were able to explain the planning that occurred in advance as well as show the dedication and bravery of our staff in responding to today’s challenging events. Our crews, as you can imagine, have been working in difficult conditions and I know you will join with me in passing on our appreciation to them.
The Norfolk Resilience Forum (NRF) have responded by initiating multi agency Tactical Co-ordination Groups meetings, providing support to Fire as requested. We have used the Voluntary and Faith Cell in procuring and delivering drinking water supplies to the firefighters. The Police and NCC Highways have been offering assistance with road closures for public safety where required. This is an ongoing dynamic response and NCC are fully supporting the wider partnership.