Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is effective, efficient and looks after its people. Following an independent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the service has been awarded ‘good’ in all three areas in the first review of its kind. And as a result, Kent has emerged as one of the top performing services in the country, of those assessed so far as part of a rolling program to inspect all 45 fire and rescue services in England. During their visit in January this year, inspectors assessed how effectively and efficiently Kent Fire and Rescue Service prevents, protects the public against, and responds to, fires and other emergencies. They also looked at how well the service looks after its staff. Responding to incidents effectively KFRS achieved ‘good’ in the three key areas assessed, and is therefore meeting the high expectations of HMICFRSKFRS achieved ‘good’ in the three key areas assessed, and is therefore meeting the high expectations of HMICFRS. Not only does the report highlight the service’s ability to respond to incidents effectively, and spend public money appropriately, but it also found the service offers ‘excellent wellbeing support’ for staff, noting ‘a culture of trust and empowerment’ with some ‘outstanding’ staff practices. The service has already taken steps to improve areas highlighted by inspectors, such as ensuring local training records are kept up to date, and recruiting more people to its technical fire safety team to increase productivity and achieve auditing targets. Providing good customer service 24/7 Ann Millington, Chief Executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This was the first inspection of its kind and a great opportunity to hear from an independent body how we’re performing. I’m pleased and proud that Kent has been graded a ‘good’ fire service, but we can strive for better – it’s part of our DNA. It’s important we continue to improve the services we offer to our communities – because there’s always more to be done. This positive outcome wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of every member of our team" “This positive outcome wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of every member of our team. I am thankful to have such a strong and passionate workforce, made up of people who genuinely care about each other, keeping our customers safe and providing a good service 24/7. “Thanks also goes to HMICFRS’ inspectors, whose recommendations we welcome and we have started implementing changes in a majority of suggested areas since the visit in January.” Result of firefighters’ hard work Nick Chard, Chairman of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “I’m very pleased to hear that Kent Fire and Rescue Service is among the top performing fire services in the country following its ‘good’ inspection. This comes as a result of hard work and dedication from firefighters and officers, who together provide the community with a fire and rescue service to be proud of.” HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services Zoë Billingham said: “I am pleased that we have rated Kent Fire and Rescue Service as ‘good’ across all three areas of our inspection. This is a modern and innovative fire service that is prepared to find new ways of doing things. Many other fire and rescue services could learn from the example it sets. Responding to fires and other emergencies The service performs well in one of its primary duties: responding to fires and other emergencies"“The service performs well in one of its primary duties: responding to fires and other emergencies. We found good collaboration with other local emergency services, including the ambulance service and the police, which improves the service given to the people of Kent. “We were very impressed with how Kent Fire and Rescue Service manages and looks after its people; some of the practice we found is outstanding. We were struck by the positive relationship between staff and senior leadership, which encourages direct contact and a culture of trust and empowerment. “I look forward to continuing to see strong performance from Kent Fire and Rescue Service in future inspections.”
A new purpose built fire station fit for 21st century firefighting was officially opened in Ramsgate on February 5, 2019. Nick Chard, Chairman of the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, launched the station and training facility based in Newington Road. The site was selected for its good location in terms of accessibility to key road networks, and has been built to provide a reliable and efficient modern day service for local people. As of 7th January 2019, it became home to whole-time crews and 14 on-call firefighters, together providing an emergency response 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Provides effective emergency cover It’s in a good location for road networks that will help us provide an excellent emergency service for local people"It is also a base for the British Red Cross, which has a vehicle in the bays alongside the fire engines ready to respond to incidents which require the charity’s support. In addition, the station provides space that other agencies, such as police and the ambulance service, can use. Nick Chard said: “I am delighted to be officially opening the new Ramsgate fire station that will provide effective emergency cover for the area for generations to come. It’s in a good location for road networks that will help us provide an excellent emergency service for local people." “As well as being an operational fire station and training facility for firefighters across the county, it’s a hub for partnership working with agencies such as Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service, as well as the British Red Cross who we are happy to share our new premises with.” Supporting people affected by fires Richard Collins, Red Cross emergency response officer for Kent, said: “A team of British Red Cross volunteers based at the station can be called out by the fire service at any time of the day or night to help support people affected by fires and other emergencies. Our vehicle is equipped with supplies like food and drink, spare clothes, hygiene packs, children’s toys, first aid supplies" “Our vehicle is specially equipped with supplies like food and drink, spare clothes, hygiene packs, children’s toys, first aid supplies and useful information that can help people with insurance claims, emergency accommodation and so on. “We offer people a quiet space to talk, or start to come to terms with the situation, and work out what happens next. We work very closely in partnership with the fire service, and we’re very happy to join our colleagues at the excellent new station in Ramsgate.” Horse drawn manual fire engines The old Effingham Street fire station building, which was occupied by the fire service for more than 100 years and designed for horse drawn manual fire engines, will soon be the property of Ramsgate Town Council and will be retained for community use. A little piece of the old station's history has made its way to the Newington Road site, in the form of a mould of the original Effingham Street station plaque which now sits in the new station's entrance. The earliest record we have of a fire station in Ramsgate is dated 1878 in York Street, before relocating to Effingham Street in 1905, and 113 years later moving to its new home, Newington Road.