telent, a specialist in the effective operation of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) are marking a milestone moment this year as their collaborative partnership enters its 19th year, with the contract now secured until 2024.

Integrated Risk Management Plan

Serving five metropolitan boroughs – Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley, Wirral and Liverpool – community safety and life-saving operations are top priorities for MFRA. Information Communication Technology (ICT) services are crucial to the day-to-day running of operations and must be developed, aligned and continually reviewed to ensure they can support the delivery of the Authority’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which prepares for various incidents and is a statutory requirement of all fire services.

Since 2001, telent has delivered a range of vital ICT services and introduced multiple innovations, including an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)-based service catalogue to ensure that Merseyside can easily alter the services it receives according to changing needs.

ITIL-based service catalogue

Our relationship with telent means we have a partner that we can rely on in the most demanding of circumstances"

At the heart of the contract, telent runs a service desk for MFRA, handling more than 650 IT incidents per month, with 75% of issues fixed by telent remotely, bringing significant cost-savings to Merseyside.

Our relationship with telent means we have a partner that we can rely on in the most demanding of circumstances,” said Phil Garrigan, Chief Fire Officer at MFRA. “As well as having a deep understanding of the blue light sector, telent brings a flexible approach to its service delivery which has proved invaluable to us as we work to keep up with the fast-paced technological changes across the business sphere. Ultimately we know we have a highly-trusted partner in telent and look forward to working with the team for years to come.

ICT life-cycle management services

More recently, telent has made additions to the ICT Service Catalogue which include providing ICT life-cycle management services for National Resilience Fire Control (NRFC) and the introduction of MFRA ICT cloud-based services to deliver in-house apps on frontline appliances. The National Resilience is responsible for deploying and co-ordinating National Resilience equipment and supporting individual fire and rescue services to minimise the impact of major emergencies.

What comes with an ICT Service Catalogue is the ability to have a Service Level Agreement with clearly defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and I am pleased as telent continues to meet those KPIs,” said Ed Franklin, Head of Technology at MFRA. “The Service Catalogue also provides the flexibility to easily adopt new services as our requirements evolve or new technology solutions become available.” According to the Home Office, MFRA attends more primary fires per thousand population than any other fire and rescue service in the UK. It is committed to attending all life risk incidents within 10 minutes on 90% of occasions.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What Trends Are Likely to Change the Fire Market in 2020?
What Trends Are Likely to Change the Fire Market in 2020?

Welcome to our Expert Panel Roundtable, a new feature of TheBigRedGuide.com. We will be asking timely questions about the fire market and seeking out experts in the field to provide responses. Our goal is to promote a useful exchange of information on a variety of topics and to create a forum for discussion of important issues facing the fire service and market. For our first question, we look to the year ahead and ask our panelists: What trends are likely to change the fire market in 2020?

Weighing the Environmental Aspects of Firefighting Foams
Weighing the Environmental Aspects of Firefighting Foams

Firefighters often use aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) to extinguish fires, especially fires that involve petroleum or other flammable liquids. AFFFs that contain fluorinated surfactants have been shown to be the most effective agents to fight hydrocarbon-fuel fires in military, industrial and municipal settings. They have been used since the 1960s. However, the surfactants have been shown to be an environmental threat, contaminating ground water and creating hazards to human health. What makes up the foams? Although the materials have been manufactured for 50 years, it is only in the last couple of decades that the compounds have been linked to health problems. Major components of the foams are per- and polyfluoroalkyl acid (PFAS) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Concerns about the materials surfaced as early as 1974. Both chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects. Related health problems include kidney, testicular, bladder and prostate cancer Related health problems include kidney, testicular, bladder and prostate cancer, as well as immune reproductive and hormonal dysfunction. Unacceptable levels of the chemicals have been detected in the drinking water on or near sites where AFFF is used, such as fire training areas, airports, refineries and chemical plants. Newer foam formulations Some newer foam formulations contain variations of similar compounds that are also problematic, specifically PFAS substances based on shorter carbon chains (C6). There are potentially hundreds of these “precursor” materials, and none are biodegradable. Some are proprietary and evade detection and regulation. Although not specifically regulated in many cases, the materials can still be problematic. The Fire Fighting Foam Coalition (FFFC) is a non-profit trade association formed in 2001 to focus on issues related to the efficacy and environmental impact of firefighting foams. They publish “best practice” guidance on proper foam selection, containing and eliminating foam discharge, and disposal of foam and firewater. The international counterpart is the FluoroCouncil, a global organization representing the world’s leading FluoroTechnology companies. Founded in 2011, membership includes companies that manufacture, formulate or process fluoropolymer products, fluorotelomer-based products, fluoro-surfactants, and fluoro-surface property modification agents. Weighing up effectiveness vs environmental damage There has been effort to develop foams that are free of fluorosurfactants In the last decade or so, there has been effort to develop foams that are free of fluorosurfactants, although there is some disagreement about whether these foams are as effective. Some Fluorine-Free Firefighting (F3) foams have been shown to have comparable performance in some applications, and many airports around the world have embraced the F3 foams, including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Paris De Gaulle and Orly, Lisbon, Brussels, Stockholm, Sydney and Melbourne. Airports have often reported success using the F3 foams, and U.S. airports will be required to use fluorine-free foams by 2021. However, some experts contend that fluorine-free foams are not as effective. The search continues for ever-more-effective fluorine-free foams. One argument goes: If fluorine-free foams do not perform as well in a specific emergency, the threat to human life is more immediate than any threat posed by possible future environmental exposure to PFAS. Using a fluorine-free foam simplifies cleanup after an incident, as the foam can be washed into runoff drains. There is no need to collect and dispose of the effluent to prevent release into the environment. Specially designed training foams There are also specially designed training foams that simulate AFFF during training but do not contain fluorosurfactants and are biodegradable. The safety debate also extends to firefighters The safety debate also extends to firefighters, some of whom claim illness from exposure to fluorosurfactants. There are multiple firefighting-foam-related lawsuits pending. But does lack of fluorine equate to more “environmentally friendly?” One researcher contends that higher aquatic toxicity of non-fluorinated foams suggests otherwise, basing the conclusion on how many fish die when exposed to each type of material. Fluorinated surfactants may have fallen into disfavor, but a worldwide ban is unlikely, given that China still produces large quantities of PFOA which is widely used to make firefighting foams in Asia.

UK Government to Address Housing and Fire Safety Issues
UK Government to Address Housing and Fire Safety Issues

The U.K. government is looking to apply the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire by strengthening the regulatory system for building safety, including regulations for high-rise buildings. By changing the industry culture to increase accountability and responsibility, proposed measures seek to ensure residents are safe in their homes. The new measures – Building Safety and Fire Safety Bills – expand on a pledge to “[bring forward] new measures to … improve building safety,” which was included in the Queen’s Speech to both houses of Parliament on Dec. 19, 2019. Bringing In New Fire Safety Measures When Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his plans for government with his new majority, he included mention of housing issues. To ensure residents are safe in their homes, the government will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. They will also publish a draft Building Safety Bill to implement the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations. The new measures will draw from all 53 of the recommendations of the independent review of building safety, and in some cases, go beyond those recommendations. For example, the government seeks to give residents a stronger voice and strengthen enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance. To ensure residents are safe in their homes, the government will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendationsDame Judith Hackitt’s review found that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose in relation to high-rise and complex buildings. A new system to oversee the whole built environment will involve local enforcement agencies and national regulators working together to ensure better safety of all buildings. New Regulations, Guidance And Improvements An enhanced regime for high-rise residential buildings will apply to more than 11,000 high-rise buildings, increasing to almost 15,000 buildings within 10 years. Some £600 million of funding has been made available to replace the unsafe cladding in the social and private sectorsPreviously, the government has implemented a range of improvements that did not require legislation, including identification of more than 400 high-rise buildings that use unsafe Aluminium Compositie Material (ACM) cladding, like that used on the Grenfell Tower. They have worked with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to ensure appropriate interim safety measures are in place. Some £600 million of funding has been made available to replace the unsafe cladding in the social and private sectors. New regulations and guidance ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of new buildings over 18 meters containing flats, as well as new hospitals, resident care premises, dormitories and student accommodations. Learning From Mistakes The Fire Safety Bill has been brought forward to “deliver meaningful change to ensure an appalling tragedy like Grenfell can never happen again.” In addition to addressing the elements of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, the Fire Safety Bill seeks to clarify the scope of the Fire Safety Order to include external walls of buildings, including cladding, and fire doors for domestic premises of multiple occupancy. It would also strengthen the relevant enforcement powers to hold building owners and managers to account. A transitional period will allow building owners and managers and Fire and Rescue Services to put in place the infrastructure for these changes.  

vfd