Barnaby Briggs (Assistant Chief Fire Officer) informed the Committee that the report covered the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that the incident mentioned in 3.4.2 was an ongoing investigation in another Brigade but there was no suggestion of equipment failure or other fault.
In relation to Warwickshire, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and HMICFRS (HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) had both been complementary and had praised the WFRS Covid-19 working arrangements. Barnaby Briggs noted that the two RIDDORs (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations) in 8.1 of the report, involved breathing apparatus used in controlled training environments, which is more continuously used than the equipment used in conventional operational settings so faults identified in the training environment help to provide a warning of what might happen in operational settings. Barnaby Briggs praised the work of Occupational Health (who had continued with the face to face and medical special screening, that they are required to do by law, to keep the fire service going) and Health and Safety teams over the past year.
The Chair praised the work of the fire service following the fire in Leamington.
Councillor Kettle raised the issue of trying not to contaminate water courses when trying to put out a fire in high-risk areas, for example the Ettington Recycling Centre fire.
Barnaby Briggs confirmed that the post fire contamination mentioned in the report was smoke absorbed by the fire fighter’s clothes but that contamination from firefighting activities was always a concern. For significant fires (like Ettington), a discussion is normally held with Public Health England (for air contaminants) and the Environment Agency (for water course contaminants) to decide the best course of action.
The Chair noted the complexity of issues that firefighters deal with, especially in difficult locations.
That the Staff and Pensions Committee notes and comments upon the report.