Sustainability

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A fire service is not traditionally associated with the issues around sustainability, although we do have a clear environmental role - our Mission Statement is to “Save and protect life, property and the environment from fire and other emergencies”.

The Service has developed a sustainability policy focussing on the support of sustainable communities, defined by the Service as being communities which:

A Sustainable Community
Balances and integrates social, economic and environmental components Meets the needs of existing and future generations Respects the needs of other communities to become sustainable Inclusive, cohesive and tolerant
Has good services and representation High quality infrastructure, natural and built environment Fair to all, including other communities Local culture and shared activities

Significant activities in support of sustainability include:

Protection

Fire Service employees spend much time in communities fitting smoke detectors and offering advice on how to prevent fires and maximise chances of escape if they do occur. We do not just consider fire safety issues; advice is given on avoiding slips, trips and falls, and access to social care services. The Service has also distributed a large number of low-energy light bulbs to vulnerable groups, reducing both environmental impact and energy costs.

We also work with businesses to minimise the risk of fire and ensure they continue to operate, supporting social and economic needs through continued employment.

Intervention

The Service has in place plans, procedures and equipment to deal effectively with fires, but this is not confined just to extinguishing them regardless of the wider impact. For example we work together with the Environment Agency, Health Protection Agency, Primary Care Trusts and Shropshire Council in order to minimise sustainability impacts of major incidents.

Use of Energy and Carbon Reduction

We have made a conscious decision not to pursue on-site renewable energy generation, or to source grid electricity from renewable resources, but to focus this additional expenditure on low-profile efficiency works, including insulation and draft proofing within its buildings. This decision is kept under review.

While the service is introducing physical changes to its buildings and vehicles, individual employees at fire stations are taking direct action to reduce consumption by switching off services themselves and encouraging their colleagues to do so.

Purchasing

We also pursue sustainability through our procurement policies. An 'Ethical Purchasing Policy' was introduced in 2003 addressing employment conditions, environmental standards and business behaviour. On a more local scale we have changed our fuel purchasing arrangements to better support local fuel stations in rural communities.