Concept of Operations heralds end of the New Dimension.

The first national seminar briefing on the New Dimension programme was held last month in Westminster and was attended by 150 of the most influential people in the Fire and Rescue Service. Fire Minister Nick Raynsford outlined what has been achieved so far and what will come next--a Concept of Operations that will move beyond New Dimension and towards civil resilience

Fire Minister Nick Raynsford outlined New Dimension achievements to date, which includes over 1,000 fire personnel having undergone training at the Fire Service College and a total of 17,800 training days funded and delivered under the New Dimension programme.

Other key accomplishments included: 80 incident response units on the run by May; 450 personnel going through the Disaster City in Texas, US; the delivery of the first 10 high volume pumps and development of the HVP instructor course; acceptance of the first 74 prime movers; agreement and a contract providing maintenance and support for all prime movers and IRUs; plus the loading of 8,000 onto the capability management system.

"New Dimension is about giving Fire Service more scope," Mr Raynsford told delegates. "Our aim is to fully integrate New Dimension with other work," he said, and pointed to the Boscastle and Carlisle floods as examples of where the new equipment was utilised to good effect, plus the Strathclyde plastics factory collapse using new search and rescue equipment.

He contended that the New Dimension programme has led the UK to become one of the world leading countries for dealing with large-scale emergencies. "But we must continue the modernisation programme. There have been constant calls for slowing down--but I don't agree. We have a major responsibility for saving lives and coping with the widest range of potential threats.

"New Dimension is a key part of the modernisation programme and an integral part of the government's resilience programme."

However, by the end of the year he explained that the term New Dimension would become redundant. "It will no longer be 'new', nor a different 'dimension'--it should be fully integrated into the mainstream work." To that end he referred to the Concept of Operations, a restricted document describing how the nine English regions would respond to a major emergency, which is based upon the current four levels of response as employed by the Fire Service at present. …

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