Contingency Planning Arrangements for Industrial Action in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
The Development of Safety Advice for Business Premises
81. The SFRS planned to run a postal campaign and forward a letter to business premises across Scotland in advance of any IA. These letters would set out what a reduction in services could have meant, ask that the premise's Fire Risk Assessment be reviewed, and if necessary that additional measures be put in place. Additionally, as BAU, the Service sits on a wide range of working groups on a sectoral basis e.g. the care sector. Safety messages would have been delivered via these working groups to partner agencies and their premises. The SFRS had Prevention and Protection (P&P) representation on the NFCC strategic forum, and this ensured that national guidance from this group was considered, and where appropriate, formed part of the planned IA communications.
82. Across Scotland there are premises that are considered high risk by the Service's Fire Safety Enforcement (FSE) team. We were informed by SFRS that all high-risk premises were, as part of a planned programme, visited and audited by FSE personnel by the end of January 2023. These audits ensured that considered and appropriate safety steps could be put in place based on inspection findings, and in advance of any IA.
83. As described previously, the SFRS had prepared a wide-ranging communications plan that was timed to be launched in the run up to IA. Within the communications plan there were elements that related to business premises safety.
84. We observed SFRS IA testing and exercising sessions as part of the field work for this Inspection. During these sessions there was a clearly expressed request from the SFRS participants for a comprehensive Communications campaign to raise awareness of safety messaging that businesses (and the public) should observe during any IA. It was recognised that effective messaging could assist with the maintenance of emergency response capacity, if businesses could reduce their demand for non-urgent 999 telephone calls (as was to be defined within the OC business rules) or automatic fire alarm calls.