Climate Change: managing the operational impact on fires and other weather-related emergencies
142. This report examines the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s current and proposed arrangements for responding to the impact of climate change; both in relation to responding to fires and other weather and climate related incidents.
143. The elements anticipated to impact most on operations of the SFRS due to the effects of climate change are flooding and wildfire incidents. Our inspection and report has duly focused on these areas. We have also considered other elements which are consequential to climate change. Other operational impacts include the SFRS’s business continuity planning and accidental drownings due to weather extremes, along with the impact of responding to incidents involving alternative fuelled vehicles.
144. Our findings conclude that the SFRS has considered its response to elements we have focused on. In particular, there is a commitment to improving resilience levels in flood response and an in-progress wildfire strategy aimed at improving response capability. HMFSI aims to assist continuous improvement by the SFRS and alongside highlighting some clear examples of good practice, we have identified some areas with scope for improvement and have provided recommendations in line with our findings. These recommendations are mainly in relation to operational intelligence and sharing and communicating information.
145. The areas of focus within this report are based on current trends, research and sector understanding around climate change. The actual future operational demand due to the effects of climate change may vary and there may be other consequences of climate change which are not yet fully realised. As the nature of demand changes so does the need to review equipment and training needs to ensure preparedness for any new challenges the SFRS may face. The SFRS should continue to look outwardly and closely monitor the developing climate change landscape to proactively consider its ability to meet future demand.