View from the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.(Operations and Training)

FIRE: How has operational training changed during recent years?

ODPM: In the past, "operational training" tended to mean performing equipment based tasks and following set procedures with the intention of controlling risk. The new, competence-based approach to training is different. As no two incidents are the same, work practices must be flexible; what is safe at one incident might not be at another. That is why IPDS helps by encouraging today's firefighters to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding in a way that ensures that they think about risk and decide on the right approach before acting.

Whilst working in a controlled environment of operational procedures is still important, the passive implementation of rigid procedures and just giving/following instructions is not enough. The new approach is more about a reliance on the person and being confident in their competence--not just attempting to control what they do. Personal and interpersonal skills also play a much more significant part.

FIRE: Has the emphasis on community fire safety made a difference to time spent on operational training?

ODPM: The modern Fire and Rescue Service should seek to improve the safety of sections of our society fairly and equitably. …

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