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NIFRS accepts recommendations from an independent inspection

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The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) acknowledges direction for future improvement

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has responded positively to recommendations made in an independent inspection.

Released today, 7 September, by the Department of Health (DOH), the inspection was carried out by His Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate (Scotland).

It aimed to provide an unbiased look into the significant challenges and issues NIFRS has been grappling with.

Inspection offers comprehensive insights into challenges and areas for advancement for NIFRS

The inspection particularly took note of the financial constraints the organisation has faced over the years.

The report mentions: “NIFRS provides an invaluable service to the community it protects” and commends the dedication and hard work of its employees.

The recommendations are intended to guide NIFRS in its enhancement efforts over the upcoming five years.

Yet, the report also conveys that: “the level of improvement required will take time, financial investment and significant political support if they are to be successful.”

Andy Hearn, the Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer at NIFRS, expressed his thoughts: “I welcome and fully support the recommendations of the Inspection in supporting change and continuous improvement in NIFRS.

“As the report outlines, with the right strategic direction, political support, and financial commitment, the challenges are in no way insurmountable.”

Recommendations set to shape the organisation’s actions over the next five years

In addition, the report emphasised the universal nature of some of these issues, as similar concerns have been identified in fire sector reports elsewhere.

Drawing from these, NIFRS intends to develop a 5-year action plan with a refreshed focus.

Extending his gratitude, Mr Hearn added: “I would like to thank our employees for their honesty and candour throughout the Inspection.

“Thanks also to the DOH for the investment in this Inspection, which is also an investment in public and Firefighter safety.

“Thank you to the Inspection Team, led by Chief Inspector Robert Scott, and our Board for their support.”

Jay Colville, Chairperson of the NIFRS Board, also commented: “On behalf of the NIFRS Board I welcome the recommendations within the report.

“The recommendations, coupled with other recommendations from various reports within the wider UK fire sector, will provide the blueprint for the future.”

For a deeper insight into the findings, the full report is available on the NIFRS publications page.

IFSJ Comment

The unveiling of recommendations for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service offers a pivotal moment in the organisation’s journey.

The report not only spotlights the immediate issues NIFRS faces but also provides a roadmap for its future endeavours.

It is noteworthy that these recommendations are grounded in real-world concerns, ensuring that the fire and rescue service remains attuned to the evolving needs of Northern Ireland’s communities.

With this framework, there’s hope for a more efficient, effective, and responsive service that continues to uphold public safety at its core.

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