BBC reports that an audit commission in the UK have rated how well fire authorities are performing. Only 47% were performing well. The assessment focused on fire prevention and budgets, and rated excellent, good, fair, poor or weak.
Read the entire article at the BBC-webiste
What is striking in the UK assessment is the trend of focusing more on preventive work and budget(??) compared to how well they perform the actual life-saving actitivities namely EMERGENCY RESPONSE. The shift of focus away from emergency response and towards accident prevention is good. But this should not mean that emergency response is a secondary task for fire services. When browsing the previous issues of The Siren, the Swedish Rescue Agency´s magazine, it is perfectly clear that accident prevention is a more interesting topic to write about. However, the people at THE SIRÈN is actually doing a good job in balancing the articles in the paper. But Prevention issues are more often in the front lines.
Perhaps, there is a need to balance the discussion. It is not a conflict between accident prevention and emergency response. But rather two perspectives on the same issue. We cannot provide safety in the society without dealing with both perspectives. We must focus our strenghts on both doing our very best on preventing accidents to happen and we must think out-of-the-box and be innovative in how to accomplish emergency response.