Operation Willow Beck supports fire service during extreme weather period

UK wildfire wales

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Following extended periods of extreme weather in the UK in recent weeks, the National Fire Chiefs Council NFCC supported process Operation Willow Beck has reportedly seen extensive use. 

The process designed in collaboration between the Home Office, the NFCC Mobilising Officers Group, the NFCC Fire Control Room Project and British Telecom is designed to mitigate increased emergency call volumes during spike conditions, such as flooding or wildfires. 

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, one of the services that implemented Operation Willow Beck in their Joint Fire Control Room, reported to National Operational Learning about the experiences on the day allowed a 65% reduction in calls being handled by Surrey, ensuring that risk critical calls could be handled in a timely manner and all callers received a response without over burdening a single buddy control room.

BT also indicated the benefits to call management were clear allowing them to pass more calls and reducing manual processes saving time and getting the caller a response faster. 

The NFCC said this demonstrated the importance of the process as while events such as these are rare they are becoming more common and more severe, meaning services will be under extreme pressure and capacity stretched

NFCC said: “We will be using all National Operational Learning cases submitted regarding these periods, to improve the existing processes, and we encourage all fire and rescue services to share vital feedback with National Operational Learning to allow us to continue to learn and improve. 

“We also urge you to consider doing more to embed Operation Willow Beck, National Talk Group 20, supporting National Operational Guidance for Fire Control and other processes designed to reduce stress on service capacity, so when they are needed, they work as well as they did for Surrey.”

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