Fighting Fire with Fire - Tackling the Mounting Challenges of Climate Change

How the right technology can help Fire Services plan and prepare for climate-related risk

Fighting Fire with Fire - Tackling the Mounting Challenges of Climate Change

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Serious climate-related incidents will worsen and firefighters are on the front lines. That's why Fire Services need a dedicated solution that's been built in collaboration with Fire Services to help managers know their critical issues in real time, manage risks and know where to target or re-deploy scarce resources in times of crisis.

It’s impossible not to notice that the UK climate has changed, and the recent IPCC report has unequivocally confirmed that. Average temperatures in central England have steadily risen, with 2018 seeing a 28 percent increase in secondary fires linked to the hot, dry summer. Meanwhile winters have been getting wetter and average sea levels have continued to rise every year, resulting in events such as the near-collapse of the Whaley Bridge Dam following days of heavy rain in 2019, which led to a nationally supported and coordinated Fire and Rescue response.

All of the available evidence indicates that these trends will continue and that climate change will bring more hot, dry summers, causing more frequent extreme weather events such as summer droughts and grassland and forest fires, as well as warmer, wetter winters causing serious downpours and increased flooding – all of which will require significant extra effort from Fire and Rescue Services and an increased demand for urgent access to urban search and rescue equipment. The dry summers are also predicted to lead to water shortages which will impact both training and firefighting.

By working to reduce emissions and by implementing new technologies, it may be possible for governments to slow the rate of change, but they won’t be to prevent it altogether. So while the immediate short term risk is still relatively low, climate change will inevitably be a serious problem in the near future. Additionally, climate change is unlikely to surprise Fire and Rescue Services with new challenges, but those challenges will become more severe and more frequent, which means that there’s a strong likelihood that Fire Services will need to increase workloads all year round. That means that they will increasingly need to make decisions with an awareness of climate change issues and will need to ensure that they are dynamic and flexible and are able to change and adapt to suit the emergencies for which they’ll be needed.

To stay ahead of these issues, UK Fire and Rescue Services must plan for climate change and ensure that their risk management systems, decision-making processes, and action planning tools are all up to scratch. Higher workloads, more frequent emergencies, water shortages and more extreme events will all create a new range of risks that must be adequately anticipated, planned for, and mitigated as effectively and efficiently as possible. In addition, they will need the tools to manage the performance of different services – and do so in an environment of cutbacks from Local Authorities, meaning they will need to ensure they can achieve more with less and deliver better, more efficient results with fewer resources.

Not only will they need to manage more frequent and more rapidly-evolving risks, but they must also have robust systems in place to help them see where issues may arise and then map their projects and actions accordingly to ensure that critical changes and improvements are being carried out to plan. Additionally, they need to be able to communicate those plans clearly to give everyone in the Service thorough oversight of the data and actions required to achieve the right outcomes. Finally, they need to have easy-to-use systems in place to monitor the impacts of those actions in near real-time so as to adjust and adapt quickly.

Thankfully, InPhase is perfectly placed to deliver the solution to meet these challenges in the form of InPhase Fire App – a dedicated digital app built in close collaboration with top UK Fire Services.

Services like Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and South Wales Fire & Rescue Service found that InPhase has already helped change and improved their performance culture to drive more belief in their data and save weeks of effort. By delivering fully integrated planning, project management and risk alongside reporting of performance and efficiency data at any level of granularity, InPhase helps managers across Fire Services know all their critical and priority issues real-time, know where to target or re-deploy scarce resources and automatically check that any actions that need to get done to tackle the challenges of climate change are being delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible.

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About the Author

Robert Hobbs

Robert Hobbs

As our Chief Executive and Founder, Robert has been the visionary leading InPhase to be one of the UK's leading providers of business management, governance and assurance solutions, and helping organisations align their actions and goals more easily and efficiently with InPhase's suite of integrated apps.

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