Residents satisfied with fire service

A Government survey has found that 83 per cent of residents surveyed are satisfied with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. Eighty-one per cent of the people who responded to the Place Survey in Devon and Somerset also said they were satisfied that t

A Government survey has found that 83 per cent of residents surveyed are satisfied with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.

Eighty-one per cent of the people who responded to the Place Survey in Devon and Somerset also said they were satisfied that the Service provided value for money.

The results of the survey have been reported to the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority's Audit and Performance Review Committee.

Western Area Commander Steve West said: "It is reassuring that the results seem to indicate that the public have a high regard for the Service and the work we are doing to make the community safer. We work very closely with partner agencies to improve the quality of life for our residents and this is reflected in the results of this major survey."

Examples of the joint-agency initiatives being carried out in Plymouth and Torbay include:


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* 999 Community Cadets; Cadet scheme is operated from Torquay Fire Station and is a joint partnership initiative with Devon & Cornwall Police.

* ROSPA Home Safe; Partnership with Sure start & ROSPA. The Service is given referrals for home safety visits and firefighters fit cupboard locks and stair gates, and give safety advice, as well as the traditional home fire safety visits. This is an initiative to reduce A & E admissions for the under 5s.

* Street Team; Partnership with Devon & Cornwall Police delivering intervention through sport and activities in areas experiencing anti-social behaviour.

* Safety Bus; Refuge and advice facility in Torquay club/pub land in partnership with Devon & Cornwall Police and the Primary Care Trust.

* Cop Cards; Card collecting scheme where young people can collect cards of police, fire and ambulance personnel on answering questions on fire safety in our case.

* Motiv8; Scheme where young people receive tokens they can exchange for gifts as a reward for community work.


* Community Focus Weeks - The Service, in partnership with the Plymouth Community Safety Partnership, Devon and Cornwall Police, and other non statutory and voluntary organisations, contribute to Community Focus Weeks. This initiative enables a co-ordinated approach to dealing with issues within communities and enables the residents to access information and services.

* Joint working with Neighbourhood Police Teams - All wholetime watches in Plymouth have been allocated a police neighbourhood team to work closely with - joint work is aligned to the neighbourhood PACT (partners and community together) priorities and Service goals.

* Western Command Management Team regularly visits the Local Strategic Partnership support office in Plymouth Civic Centre to raise the fire service's profile and keep abreast of local initiatives.

* Pride and Respect Festivals - This year, the Service is attending both Plymouth Pride and Respect Festivals to show a commitment to diversity and the ambition to have a fire service that reflects the community it serves.

Central Area Commander Neil Blackburn said: "Working alongside other agencies has allowed us to effectively target our prevention activities whilst making them more accessible to all members of the community. We believe that an effective prevention strategy alongside our traditional functions will prevent many injuries and potential fatalities in the long term. "

Examples of joint-agency initiatives being carried out in East and North Devon include:

* The successful Junior Life Skills events

* The Street Champions scheme

* The Country Mile Road Safety initiative

* Soccersafe youth engagement scheme

* Involvement in the Grassroots community fun days

* Torr-age Partnership involvement

The Government requires councils nationwide to send Place Surveys to local residents to focus on improving outcomes for local people and places. The results will influence how local authorities decide on their priorities and targets and will help to shape the delivery of services across Devon and Somerset over the next few years.

To get a complete picture of residents' experience of living in the local area, councils across Devon and Somerset teamed up with other services and agencies such as Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to carry out the survey. The survey took place between 25 September 2008 and 19 December 2008.

Answering a supplementary question, 73 per cent of those that responded in Devon, Torbay and Plymouth said that they had working smoke alarms in their home and checked them regularly.

Area Manager Nick Manning, Head of Community Safety for the Service, said: "These results highlight that people are aware of the importance of having working smoke alarms. You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you do not have that early warning provided by a smoke alarm.

"However, we can not be complacent and would urge those people who do not have working smoke alarms to have them installed, preferably on each level of their home."

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service offers a free Home Safety Visit service where staff will come to your home to offer fire safety advice and, if necessary, fit a free smoke alarm. To book an appointment, call freephone 0800 73 11 822.