We think it is right that we focus on you, our customers. We want to put you and your safety at the centre of what we do.
From the work we do we know the devastating consequences a fire, road crash or other emergency can have on individuals and their families. For many years we have worked with partners to prevent emergency incidents in Kent and Medway. As a result of our community safety initiatives we have seen a 45% reduction in the number of incidents over the past ten years.
Our “Focus on your Safety” Strategy aims to provide you with the information and skills to prevent you being involved in an emergency in the first place, but also to minimise the impact if such an event happens. The strategy focuses on three types of emergencies: fires, road traffic collisions, and incidents involving water such as flooding in the home or across broad areas.
Understanding our communities
In order to achieve our objectives we need to have a good understanding of our communities, what their needs are, and the best ways to engage with them. We do this by collecting and analysing data about the incidents we attend, sharing data with key partners, and by working with local authorities to understand local needs. We have also undertaken innovative research to understand how people behave before and during fires in their homes. The knowledge gained through all of this work allows us to tailor our community safety activities to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
How we will work
As our financial resources reduce we are faced with the challenge to continue to deliver our community safety work with less. We think that we can achieve this by continuing to work with our partners to explore opportunities for innovation in the way we deliver community safety services. We also want to make sure we target our resources efficiently by paying special attention to those most at risk in our communities since we believe that we can make a bigger impact by concentrating on these groups.
This year we will continue to develop our working practices to support the public health agenda through the delivery of ‘safe and well’ visits to higher-risk people in their homes. During these visits, as well as fire prevention information, we also offer advice and support around personal safety and health issues, such as dementia. By continuing to work with public health departments and Clinical Commissioning Groups we can make a difference and help higher-risk people live independently in their homes for longer.
We also want our firefighters to deliver home safety visits in high risk areas as part of a ‘keeping the whole street safe’ approach. We trialled this approach at three stations and the feedback has been very positive. Therefore, this year we will roll out this initiative to all stations. As well as delivering fire and personal safety advice to residents, these visits will incorporate work such as checking access arrangements and that fire hydrants in the road are working effectively.
Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is a role that we take extremely seriously and we believe that all of us have a role to play. We have strong governance arrangements in place in this area and train our staff to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse and what to do if they have a concern.
Our aspirations are that by 2020 there will be zero deaths and far fewer injuries from fires. By the same date, working with our partners, we will aim to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road crashes by 33%, and the number of children killed or seriously injured by 40%, compared with 2004-08. However, we also want to make sure that if a fire, road accident or other emergency happens we can provide the best possible service to you. Details of how we plan to improve the way we respond to emergencies are covered in the Responding to Emergencies Strategy.
Our main challenges
- Overall increase in population in Kent and Medway (forecast to reach 2.1 million by 2030
- Increase in the number of people over 70 with a related rise in mobility problems and disability
- Increased population suffering from mental health conditions
- Increase in deprivation which is linked with an increased risk of fire and poor living conditions
- Increase in occurrences of domestic abuse and the use of fire as a weapon
- Increase in the number of road traffic collisions and the number of people killed or seriously injured as a result