I would like to assure the communities of Calderdale that we are making the District a safer place to live, work and commute. Our 2014/15 District Risk Reduction Plan and the Service’s 2014/15 Action Plan highlight how we will prioritise and deliver services this year.
Our main priorities are to:
- deliver a proactive fire prevention and protection programme
- deliver a professional and resilient emergency response service
- provide a safe, competent and diverse workforce
- provide effective and ethical governance and achieve value for money in managing resources
A Key objective for this year is to reduce risk in areas of Calderdale affected by changes to emergency cover arrangements. On 1 September, we removed a fire engine from Halifax Fire Station, and during 2015, we will replace the fire stations at Brighouse and Elland with a new one at Rastrick. Additional risk reduction activities are therefore taking place in areas around Brighouse, Elland, and Halifax to reduce the risk of future emergencies. These changes take place against the backdrop of a continual reduction in emergency calls throughout Calderdale. This is testament to close working with partner agencies and of course the vigilance of householders, local businesses, and road users.
While on the subject of road users, I would like to draw attention to recent statistics for road traffic collisions on Calderdale’s roads. They show during 2013 that the number of people killed or seriously injured in Calderdale reduced by 6%. The results represent a modest reduction in casualties and reinforce the need to continue working in partnership to reduce the risk of road traffic collisions. Road Safety Week commences on 17 November and a number of events will be taking place throughout the country to promote road safety and help save lives. With this in mind, our flagship “Road show” takes place on 18 November at The Victoria Theatre, Halifax. It is a hard-hitting production aimed at providing thought provoking and life-long safety messages to local sixth form students. The event always receives positive feedback, but pulls no punches in communicating the horrific impact of road traffic collisions.
While we can’t complain about this summer’s weather, warmer and drier periods often mean that there was an increased risk of grass and rubbish fires. I am happy to say that despite the glorious weather these types of incident reduced by over 50% in comparison to last year’s summer months. The sun was even shining during the Tour de France weekend and this posed a significant risk of disturbance due to wildfires. Thankfully, partnership working and good pre-planning helped to promote a safe and successful event for everyone to enjoy.
Of course, our focus is now turning toward bonfire night and making sure that everyone stays safe during this period. Bonfire night can be great fun for all the family but it is important that you celebrate safely. I want everyone to enjoy Bonfire Night but urge people to stay safe by following the firework code and by attending displays that are well organised. In the run up to Bonfire Night, firefighters from Calderdale will be visiting local schools and businesses to highlight the dangers of fireworks, and bonfires. In the meantime, though I would like to direct you to the RosPa website that provides some very good advice about firework and bonfire safety.
Calderdale District Commander