The Chief Fire Officer for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service picked us up from home on the East of the County. The programme had us getting to Peterchurch on the West of the County in 15 minutes. This would have been optimistic even with the excitement of a blue light. However, the public will be pleased to know that blue lights are not used lightly and certainly not in these circumstances. The timing was a clerical error.
We got to Peterchurch where the service has a fire training facility that was demonstrated to us. Our fire personnel are volunteers on call when needed. Those on call have to be at their fire-station within a few minutes. The fire-station network is such that this service is usually the first responders to an incident. Their capabilities are broad. Due to the fire prevention work that they do, fires are less frequent than they used to be. Sadly, traffic accidents are not going in the same direction and the service is coming up against new challenges dealing with accidents as technology changes vehicles.
We then went on to the Hereford Fire-station. After getting a lofty view of Hereford from the top of a fire platform at full extension (high!), a number of us sat down and talked about the service and the wide range of skills that it can bring to bear. Particularly good to hear was the degree of cooperation with other services such as the police and ambulance in ways that were not obvious.
We are fortunate to have them at the service of the public.