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Operations Support

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and associated regulations place various duties on the Fire Service as a Category 1 responder, and the Operations Support Department is responsible for ensuring these duties are met.

One of the main duties of the Act is that in each police force area a Local Resilience Forum (LRF) must be established to identify and assess risks that pose a threat to the community, plan for emergencies and co-operate and share information with other emergency response organisations. Such risks include: severe weather, pandemic illness, terrorist attack, flooding and industrial accidents. A register is produced called the West Yorkshire Community Risk Register, which details all the identified risks.

 

Operations Support is responsible for:

  • Planning for multi-agency events
  • Operational Risk Information
  • Interoperability
  • National Resilience
  • Technical Rescue

Planning for multi-agency events

The department works alongside other Local Resilience Forum (LRF) partner agencies such as the police, ambulance service, health service, local authorities, utility companies, the Environment Agency and many others to produce multi-agency response plans which are used during times of crisis or at large scale events such as the Tour de France in 2014. These plans allow agencies to work together to mitigate the effect of the crisis/event.

Operational Risk Information

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) aims to reduce the risk and impact of fire and other emergencies on the community and the society it serves, as well as the environment within which it operates. This runs parallel to the responsibility to safeguard fire-fighters, WYFRS’ statutory duty to enforce fire safety legislation and promote fire safety. Premises will be visted based on risk and those which present the highest risk will be visted more often. Operational crews will collect risk information as part of their normal role which improves familiarity with the premises and provides accurate and timely risk information on things such as:

  • Hazards/risks to fire-fighters should the premises be involved in fire and other emergencies
  • Hazards/risks to occupants in the premises should it be involved in fire and other emergencies
  • Building information and control measures unique to the premises
  • Recognition of the use of the premises and the relative risk it may present should it be involved in fire and other emergencies

Interoperability

Most routine incidents involve single agencies carrying out their own clearly defined functions. However, a major or complex incident should involve collaboration with other emergency services as well as partner organisations.

To enhance multi-agency working the Government introduced the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) in November 2012 with the aim of improving communication between police, ambulance and fire crews at all levels of command and the programme has recently been rolled out to the wider response community.

Other objectives of the JESIP programme include better information sharing and mobilisation procedures as well as a sound understanding of each other’s roles, responsibilties and capabilities. The JESIP programme provided the opportunity to build upon the excellent inter-agency working that we have already achieved here in West Yorkshire.

National Resilience

Originally termed ‘The New Dimension Programme’ this provides the Fire and Rescue Service with a national capability to respond to major emergencies involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) events, search and rescue, major flooding and transport incidents.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service hold, staff and maintain a number of these National Resilience (NR) assets which can be deployed locally, regionally or nationally.

 

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service NR assets held:

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

USAR provides an operational capability that is able to respond to large scale incidents involving structural collapse or large rail, road or aircraft incidents and includes specialist canine search teams.

High Volume Pumps (HVPs)

HVPs enhance the existing capabilities of the fire and rescue service to pump high volumes of water for fire-fighting and bulk media provison and also to assist in mitigating the effects of flooding.

Incident Response Units (IRUs)

IRUs carry a range of equipment including decontamination structures capable of providing mass decontamination to assist the ambulance service in the mass decontamination of the public following chemical incidents or terrorist chemical attack (CBRN).

Detection, Identification and Monitoring (DIM)

Vehicles carry a range of DIM equipment, available 24/7, to be deployed with the initial aim of delivering a substance detection, analysis and identifaction capability to support mass decontamination and hazardous materials incidents.

Enhanced Logistics Support (ELS)

ELS deploys with a minimum of six operators and provides a logistics management system. The ELS teams support the incident command system either at a Strategic Holding Area (SHA), Multi Agency Strategic Holding Area (MASHA) or other designated location with identified feeding, refreshment and rest facilities.

Flood Rescue Teams

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have several trained teams, located at Brighouse, Bingley, Leeds and Wakefield and have two powered boats within this capability. The HVP and Flood Rescue assets work in partnership with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) who are the lead agency for flooding.

Tactical Advisors

Supported by NR under the National Co-ordination and Advisory Framework (NCAF), West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service provide Tactical Advisors for CBRN events, USAR, HVP and Flood capabilities.

National Inter-Agency Liaison Officers (NILO)

These officers, from UK fire and rescue services, police and health agencies, enable effective distribution of sensitive information between agencies. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service NILOs regularly work alongside West Yorkshire Police and the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and support multi-agency operations at terrorist related or other critical incidents.

The role of the NILO is to liaise with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescues Service’s partners at operational incidents (or at the pre-planning stage) and provide advice and support regarding West Yorkshire Fire and Rescues Service’s operational capabilities.

Technical Rescue

Water Rescue Teams

Swift water rescue teams perform rescues from fast flowing or deep water and these are based at Bingley, Brighouse, Leeds Rothwell and Wakefield fire stations.

Technical Rescue Unit (TRU)

The TRU is based at Cleckheaton Fire Station and is staffed by the Technical Tescue Team. It provides an enhanced rescue capability for incidents of a technical nature including:

  • Confined space rescues (trench, sewers and silos);
  • Rope rescue;
  • Road traffic collisions (RTC) involving LGVs, coaches or buses;
  • Structural collapse;
  • Persons trapped (non RTC e.g. impalement, machinery, crushed in machinery)

Technical Rescue Officer (TRO)

The TRO provides advice and guidance to the incident commander for incidents of a technical nature.