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Fire fighters in Oxfordshire are better placed to respond to national government directives to prepare against fire...
Fire fighters in Oxfordshire are better placed to respond to national government directives to prepare against fire risks than many other brigades in the country.

The Oxfordshire CC fire and rescue service yesterday presented its new Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) to the authority's executive, detailing how it will meet new government requirements for using more resources on fire prevention and taking on a broader community safety role.

The service adopted the approach that the government has recently been advocating a long time ago and, as a consequence, is now in the vanguard of change across the country.

A number of locally developed policy initiatives have been adopted and offered nationally as examples of best practice such as the service's approach to dealing with automatic fire alarms and its Community Safety Strategy.

The service has dramatically reduced its attendance at 'false alarms' by enabling and supporting the community to develop appropriate arrangements for reducing the risk from fire and more effectively managing their fire warning systems.

Similarly, by working with a number of other partners within social and healthcare arenas, the service has been able to more effectively provide fire safety advice, guidance and support to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Both initiatives are designed to address identified risk within our community and provide more effective use of resources.

John Parry, the council's director for community safety and chief fire officer, said: 'the fire and rescue service has never been here just to put fires out and help deal with accidents. We are here to educate people and work with them to cut down on the risk.

'The government wants us to expand on that side of our work. The Oxfordshire brigade has always been ahead of the game in this regard and we therefore have something of a head start. However that doesn't mean we can now enter a phase of complacency. There is still room for impro vement and we will be using these new government requirements as an opportunity to build on what we have already achieved.'

He went on to say: 'Increasingly our operational role is focused on road traffic accidents- we extricated over 100 people from vehicles last year. We will also be working hand in hand with colleagues in other areas such road design, the police and NHS trusts to reduce both the number of casualties and injuries.'

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