The results of an independent peer review of the Isle of Man Fire & Rescue Service (IoMFRS) have now been published.
While making some recommendations for improvements, the peer review group praised staff for their passion and dedication to protecting our Island community.
A group of senior Fire and Rescue officers from across the UK, led by an officer from the Local Government Association (LGA), visited the Island in January 2023 to undertake the review.
The peer group found that the IOMFRS leadership was aware of the challenges faced in delivering a modern service on an Island, geographically isolated in relation to other Fire & Rescue Service partners.
The report highlighted the flexibility of the service with its unique operating model where officers are responsible for delivering the maintenance and engineering support for essential equipment.
The peer team were pleased to hear about teams taking their own initiative in making improvements and following some UK practices, this included the introduction of a dedicated prevention team to work with other safeguarding agencies to protect the island’s vulnerable. They also highlighted the positive relationships and trust between front line and senior officers, and the Department of Home Affairs.
In total 15 recommendations were made, focussing on improving and modernising the service in line with UK standards.
One of the biggest issues identified within the Island service was resourcing, with Officers on-Island often having multiple roles or responsibilities given the nature of a smaller service.
As part of this, the review recommended looking at staff workloads, as well as providing greater stability to staff by ensuring the service does not have people in interim posts.
Other recommendations included, developing a Risk Management Plan that reflects and responds to the island’s foreseeable risk, reviewing critical incident command roles to ensure staff are not overstretched, and working with other parts of Government to improve IT, HR and fleet services to ensure staff have the required support to deliver essential services to the community.
Interim Chief Fire Officer, Mark Christian, said:
‘I’m immensely pleased at the recognition our staff have received in this review by our UK counterparts. We’re always striving to improve the service, to make sure that we’re keeping everyone on the Island safe in the best way we can. We are already working towards some of the recommendations that have been made, so it’s reassuring that we’re heading in the right direction.’
John Wannenburgh MHK, Department Member with delegated responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services said:
‘This voluntary peer review process has been incredibly useful in highlighting where our Island’s Fire and Rescue service is thriving, and for helping to identify some of the steps that we can take to make improvements. I look forward to seeing the service evolve with some of these suggestions.’
The full report is available to read online.