21 March 2008
The fire and rescue service must improve on its response to 999 calls, according to the country's most senior fire and rescue service expert, Sir Ken Knight.
In his report on the service's operational response to last summer's floods, published on March 17, Knight said: 'It is clear that improvements can be made and lessons learned. One of the critical issues was
the difficulties of dealing with the high number of calls from the public.'
The report — Facing the challenge — makes 28 recommendations on co-ordinated responses, sharing of information resources, and training and health issues.
'My findings underpin the rationale for the new, nationally linked network of fire control centres,' Knight added.
He has also called for the service to be given greater capability to undertake flood rescue and has instructed local fire and rescue authorities to ensure that firefighters have appropriate personal protective equipment and training.
Local government minister John Healey said: 'I welcome this report and support for the changes under way to better handle emergency calls.'