The official launch of a British Red Cross and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service partnership was sealed with a handshake on the 1st July 2013.
The Fire Emergency Support Service or FESS takes the form of a vehicle crewed by volunteers who, when mobilised by the Fire service attend incidents and offer emotional support to victims of emergencies such as house fires and road traffic collisions.
The vehicle is stationed at Shrewsbury Fire Station and all volunteers are trained to cope with the physical limitations of an incident ground. They have received basic training in how to observe cordons and stay safe at incidents and will participate in a number of exercises over the coming months.
Shrewsbury Station Manager Neil Griffiths said, “ When I first heard the idea of FESS being established in Shropshire I was really pleased that we would now be able to provide more support to the victims of emergencies. We in the Fire and Rescue Service are well trained and equipped to deal with removing people from the danger and making thearea safe; but the British Red Cross are trained to offer the emotional support that people often need at such times.”
The vehicle itself includes shower and toilet facilities as well as a hob and microwave to heat food. There is ample supplies of drinking water, food and clothing as well as towels, baby food and nappies. In short the vehicle can offer people who have lost possessions some respite in the immediate stages after the emergency has occurred.
The picture below shows Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond shaking hands with Chief Operations Director Andrew Strong from the British Red Cross alongside volunteers outside the Service Headquarters in St Michaels Street, Shrewsbury.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said “The introduction of FESS into Shropshire is something I have been keen to do for a number of years having seen the benefits it can bring to the victims of emergencies in other parts of the region. I am so pleased that I have seen it come to fruition as I come toward the end of my time here as Chief Fire Officer.”
The new incoming Chief Fire Officer elect John Redmond said – “I have had the opportunity to work with FESS in previous roles in other Fire and Rescue Services. I am confident that our communities will benefit hugely from their establishment in Shropshire. As our firefighters concentrate on resolving incidents safely we can be reassured that the people involved are being looked after by well trained volunteers offering emotional support and shelter at their time of need.”