Key projects include:
- Following a countywide review to ensure that stations are in the right location to meet the modern day needs, KFRS is to build five new fire stations in Ash-cum-Ridley, Ramsgate, Rochester, Gillingham and Herne Bay. The Rochester site will also provide vital road safety training for local young people (nearly 200 people under 25 are killed or injured on the roads every year). Find out more about our plans for new fire stations.
To deal with certain incidents, KFRS is investing in alternatives to traditional fire engines such as off-road vehicles that can get to places a heavy fire engine would have trouble reaching.
- Investment in new firefighting technology means we can tackle fires more effectively eg new kit that can punch a small hole through a wall or roof to spray super fine water mist onto the fire. This brings the temperature down within seconds, allowing our firefighters to get inside for rescues and to fight any remaining fire.
- Developing more efficient ways of working for example at large incidents when there are already enough fire engines in use, extra crew can travel there in other vehicles, freeing up their fire engines to deal with other incidents.
- The KFRS 999 team are now co-located with Kent Police. Benefits include improved liaison with police during emergencies, and being able to view incidents on the county CCTV camera network. The next step will be updating our existing call and mobilising systems (which are now very out of date) to the same software used by police.
- The most vulnerable in our community - older people, those with dementia, disabled people, and victims of domestic violence - are most at risk of dying or being injured in a fire. KFRS will continue to provide an enhanced service for those at most risk through the vulnerable persons team, which currently provides free home safety visits for around 200 people every month.
- A large proportion of small businesses never recover from a major disruption like a fire and close within 18 months. KFRS aims to help local firms by advising them on how to keep their buildings and staff safe, prevent fires and meet their legal responsibilities through a new business advice service.
- In April 2013 the final phase of a project to tackle the large number of false alarms from automatic systems comes into force. A third of the total number of calls we received were previously from automatic systems and over 98% of these were false alarms. In phase one, KFRS stopped attending these alarms during the day, meaning on hundreds of occasions fire engines were available for genuine emergencies rather than being out dealing with false alarms. Callers from sheltered accommodation will be asked to confirm if the call is a known false alarm.
- KFRS has been working hard to develop ways of working that will protect the environment and has signed up to a partnership with the Environment Agency to ensure that when fighting fires that pollutants do not damage the environment. The Service is also working to cut its carbon footprint by ensuring buildings are insulated, new build stations include energy saving measures and business mileage is reduced wherever possible.
- For full details of our plans look at our Corporate Plan