Within this page we share details of the work Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS), it's staff through Employee Forums and community contacts have been doing to support local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the experiences and working facilities for staff and in support of our Equality and Inclusion Priorities 2021 to 2024.
To find out more about our Equality and Inclusion Priorities 2021 to 2024, please click here.
See examples of the work we have been doing and click on the titles below to find out more.
Communicating EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) topics both internally and externally are important to HFRS and the Corporate Communication and Events team create a calendar of campaigns and events that cover local and HFRS events, national and local campaigns, which also includes those organised by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC). This helps to plan other corporate messaging and support our colleagues in Prevention and Protection with their safety-based communications and events.
By promoting and celebrating EDI topics through awareness campaigns and events, we aim to provide support to vulnerable and marginalised communities. For example, we raise awareness and work with our staff LGBT+ staff forum on messages during LGBT History month and Pride month. We support local LGBT+ groups at public events and fly the Pride flag at our locations, celebrating LGBT History Month and supporting Pride Summer activities. Were we can we use campaigns to promote our staff and the work they do, as we have done during March which is Women’s History Month. The first week celebrates NFCC’s On-Call Awareness Week which provided us with the opportunity to talk about the women who work for us in the role of On-Call Firefighters.
Our focus on staff and communities has continued with the promotion of recruitment opportunities to diverse communities alongside the Organisational Development team (OD) through links with the HANA Charity at their event with the University of Hull, involvement with Eid celebrations and at Pride Events in Hull. We have provided OD with a range of marketing materials relating to the occasion and continue to work closely with them to support and increase positive attraction through futures campaigns, such as Rookie Reds, that encourages under-represented groups into operational roles.
Working intensively with emerging and established Staff Forums to help them promote their aims and message to staff through internal communications routes, such as the staff newsletter (Siren) and raising awareness externally through national campaigns to promote a positive message. Leaders and Ambassadors are linked into these messages and supported in the development of their internal and external statements about the organisation’s view and approach to EDI issues.
We are actively continuing to improve the accessibility of our communications. In 2021 we are updating the content management system of our public facing website which supports future updates to accessibility software. The updated website will still allow visitors to change the website colours and text sizes, something that has been available on the HFRS website for many years. Content within the webpages is translatable through Google Translate which will also be a feature of the updated website, and we are working to provide more documents as HTML to support this in compliance with Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. We have updated our guidance for selected staff who are trained to post social media messages to our Corporate Social Media accounts, and this includes adding alternative text to photos and captions to videos, the team will continue to advise and support colleagues in making our content as accessible as it can be.
HFRS Development Network for Women
HFRS Development Network for Women includes operational and support staff who are women and has been meeting regularly for the last 3 years to develop themselves and to design services for women at HFRS.
This Development Network allows women to:
It is a Network which celebrates women’s achievements, strengths and skills and also provides support to help with working identities, change and transition and personal goals and action plans.
The Network was formed in 2018 from staff who had participated in the first HFRS Women’s Development Programme, to continue the impetus started in the Programme and to make recommendations for further support for women. The Group also helped initiate mentoring for women at HFRS which has developed into peer, short term and regional mentoring for women. The Group recommended that the Women’s Development Programme should be available each year to staff at HFRS and this led to a second Programme being delivered during 2019 and the opportunity to apply is now mainstreamed into the learning and development opportunities provided within the Personal Development Review process at HFRS.
During the last 18 months there have been some difficult areas for everyone that have needed to be tackled as a group, including:
The Network are currently seeking new ideas, topics and speakers for meetings and are ready to invite more women to participate in meetings and benefit from the opportunities that they are providing.
Voices for Disability Staff Forum
There are many disabilities, some are obvious, and others are hidden. They can affect us mentally, physically or both. What is important is how we and others understand and appreciate each other.
The Voices for Disability staff group has been established to offer membership to staff who recognise themselves as having a disability or act as a carer to someone who has a disability. The purpose of the group is to provide members with an opportunity to discuss experiences, share ideas and to increase the disability awareness of staff, managers and leaders throughout the organisation.
“To support, encourage and enable HFRS to break down the barriers associated with disability.”
Since the Group formed in 2020, they have been working on a number of priorities as follows:
LGBTQ+ Group activities in 2020-21
This staff forum has been meeting and active since August 2020 and came together to support LGBTQ+ staff and families, and allies, and to support positive change at HFRS.
Over this time the group has been working on a range of priority areas as follows:
The HFRS Hull District Public Safety team and FALLS team (including On-Call FALLS team), which are managed by Stephanie Smith, have gone above and beyond to help people in the Community during COVID-19.
The Hull Public Safety team aims to help the public stay safe from fire at home and outside using data led intelligence safety interventions aligned with the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). The team deliver this in many ways including carrying out Safe and Well visits in person, working with and training partner agencies, fire setter intervention with children, and many more.
The Hull Falls Team work within a partnership orientated environment to deliver a rapid response to falls incidents to reduce hospital admissions, minimising the risk of worsening conditions of injuries. They provide advice, intervention and signposting to reduce the risk of further falls.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the FALLS team (firefighters and advocates) have ensured that essential medication is delivered the same day to residents in Hull who live alone and are unable to collect their own prescriptions, most are self-isolating. Residents receiving medication deliveries are being offered a Safe and Well telephone call to ensure that they receive fire safety advice. The team deliver the medication whilst being on call for FALLS incidents. The team are also attending incidents for people who are confirmed and show symptoms of COVID-19.
In addition to this both teams have carried out Safe and Well visit telephone calls to hundreds of occupiers offering a referral for support with:
If it is deemed necessary, during the call, that the occupier needs a face to face Safe and Well visit then the team visit wearing appropriate PPE.
The team have also continued to carry out Arson Threat Safe and Wells visits often related to Domestic Abuse. They have ensured that the occupier receives appropriate information and resources. PPE is always worn when a face to face visit is required.
On many occasions’ equipment such as smoke alarms, deep fat fryers and cooking timers have been dropped off at the doorstep to help keep the occupier safe from fire. The occupier has been provided with information over the telephone on how to use the equipment.
In the initial onset of COVID-19 the team collected shopping lists and money from residents, shopped in local supermarkets (sometimes 3 different shops per resident if they had an intolerance and could only find certain products at a specific supermarkets) and delivered the products back to the occupier.
The team have been involved in assisting the food hubs throughout Hull and while they delivered daily food parcels across the city, they were also checking for any occupiers that maybe at risk of fire and completing a Safe and Well visit for them either over the telephone or face to face.
Whilst dealing with COVID-19 activities, team members also provided community safety support over a weekend in relation to a serious fire involving numerous houses. The activities carried out are as below:
The team have been happy to work on weekends to ensure that resident’s needs are met. They have supported each other throughout and shown true leadership skills. They have shown excellent team spirit and have not once complained about carrying out work that is above and beyond their role. They have adapted to change very well and continued to provide a service to help keep people safe from fire.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council) asked Fire Services to support the NHS by providing help with:
Some Fire Services trained with St Johns to be vaccinators, but Humberside NHS did not need this. HFRS supported the vaccination drive with eight seconded staff to work with the vaccination project in Hull City Hall, along with many of our prevention staff delivering to vulnerable people shielding.
Our secondees were a mixture of On-Call Firefighters, Community Safety Staff and Support Staff who responded to the request to help with this work. From early 2021 these staff have been involved in various activities:
At the end of the peak project most of our staff had finished their secondment. However, Karen who usually works as Service Support Administrator, and Sarah who usually works as a Community Safety Advocate, have become a central part of the vaccination project as team leaders and due to their people and organising skills, the NHS requested an extension of their contract as they have become essential in ensuring all marshals are organised and supported to ensure the project runs smoothly.
There have been many incidents where HFRS staff have excelled in this work and one incident where Karen used her people, observation skills, caring and quick thinking to notice a person who seemed unwell and to alert medical staff to attend and by doing this was able to avoid a major health issue occurring for the person.
Over the summer of 2021, HFRS are supporting Hull City Council by providing its Welfare Vehicle, Pop up Air Tent and an On-Call firefighter to assist with the delivery of pop up vaccination sites in targeted areas. These targeted areas are where there may be low take up of vaccination or where local people need easy access to sites afforded by providing local sites. The work involves preparation through door knocking to alert people to the opportunity to get vaccinated locally and answer questions to reassure people of the safety of vaccinations. These have been successful and the numbers of vaccinations in these areas have risen. HFRS can also engage with these local households at the vaccination sites about FRS services, including offering safe and well visits and making local communities aware of opportunities for current careers in HFRS.
Jo has managed the staff seconded to this project and is continuing to support them in their work and to report on outcomes and progress to ensure the project is a successful intervention for HFRS, both in terms of supporting the work to end the Pandemic and to engage communities for longer term Fire Service activities.
An Equality Impact Analysis (EIA) is a tool used by organisations to assess the risk of inequalities around aspects of people called ‘protected characteristics’, for example our race, sex and age, sexual orientation etc. or whether we do or don’t have a disability. Done well, a robust EIA is recognised in law as evidence that an organisation has fulfilled its equality duties.
In October 2016, HFRS refreshed its approach to how EIA’s were undertaken which included an updated template and supporting guidance. In early 2020 the NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council) commissioned McKenzie’s LLP to deliver EIA awareness training to Services throughout the country, which was shortly followed by the launch of an NFCC standardised best practice template, a 5-step process and a supporting toolkit, with the aim of the new format being adopted to standardise the approach to EIA throughout the sector.
Managers who undertake significant activities such as writing policies or procedures, carrying out reviews, designing strategies or plans, which have impacts on staff or Service users must consider the equality implications of their work. By completing an EIA, managers are able to identify if there are any adverse impacts or breaches of the Equality Act 2010 and identify actions to remove or mitigate these adverse impacts. Managers are responsible for ensuring that the mitigating actions which are identified are documented and implemented within an appropriate timescale.
Done well, EIA’s enable HFRS to avoid discrimination, improve the quality of employment opportunities and services, and contribute towards the Service being able to demonstrate how it is meeting its legal duties.
HFRS adopted the NFCC EIA process and template in the late spring of 2021. To assist in embedding the new process HFRS commissioned McKenzie’s LLP to deliver bespoke training to middle and senior managers. During the course these managers are required to review a previous EIA and complete a new EIA, which will then be peer reviewed and quality assured prior to publication in the EIA repository.
A review of the completed EIA’s published internally was carried out by OD managers in preparation for the training and to identify any common themes or gaps in understanding and application. The review identified that whilst there are pockets of good practice in relation to the completion of EIA’s across the Service, there are improvements which can be made in the quality and quantity of the EIA’s being undertaken.
The NFCC EIA training, process and template should provide a solid foundation on which the Service can develop its work on equality analysis, which in turn will provide assurance to senior leaders and elected members that HFRS is meeting its legal duties under the Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED).
As a Fire and Rescue Service we recognise the need to reach out to our communities to help reduce emergency incidents and to help them to stay safe. To do that effectively we must be engaged with and knowledgeable about the people we serve and have a workforce that reflects our communities.
We want to attract the best people from all backgrounds to consider working for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service and help us achieve our mission.
As a Service we are now gearing up our activities to promote the opportunities we have available in all roles across the Service but in particular uniformed roles. We want to ensure that people who are from groups or backgrounds currently under represented within our uniformed establishment, and wider service, are aware of our commitment to diversity and that as a Service we offer exciting career options.
We have always attended many galas, fetes and events in support of our communities and now, as we hopefully move away from the pandemic restrictions, we are keen to reinforce those bonds. We will endeavour to use our community connections to engage with a diverse range of people to ensure that they understand our Service and the role of the modern-day firefighter. We will provide taster sessions and information so that everyone can recognise the job benefits and career opportunities that come with the role and the absolute satisfaction derived from supporting those most in need.
During July we attended an EID Celebration Day at Peel Park in Hull. This Community led Day was attended by a range agencies and community groups providing services to the Muslim and wider community. HFRS were present to provide community safety advice as well as encouraging communities to think about jobs with HFRS.
Rookie Reds Programme
In the Autumn HFRS will re-launch its previously very successful Rookie Reds Programme. This networking group focuses on fitness and introduces the Fire and Rescue Service and the role of firefighter.
The aims of this Programme are to provide support, training and guidance to underrepresented groups on the recruitment process in the Fire and Rescue Service. Giving participants a realistic insight into the diverse role of a firefighter, including:
Through this Programme HFRS hope to attract more under-represented groups, especially women and ethnic minorities, into firefighting roles.
HFRS Joint Estates Team have a long term planned approach to improving fire stations and workplace facilities at HFRS. Work focuses on accessibility, and providing privacy for sleeping, changing and working as well as improving HFRS assets for effectively providing services to communities.
During 2020-21 work completed included:
March 2021, saw the successful completion of re-modelling and refurbishment schemes at both Bridlington and Scunthorpe fire stations. The main focus of both schemes was to improve dignity and privacy on station, with shared dormitories being replaced with individual sleeping rooms and individual shower/WC pods replacing communal welfare facilities. Works also included improvements to On-Call changing facilities.
The 2021-2022 onwards Capital Programme was approved in December 2020 and works to ensure dignity and privacy on Stations were identified as of the highest priority:
Planning work has already commenced on this year’s programme with initial site visits having taken place with relevant Station and Group Managers to discuss requirements and potential options.
Shortly after Lisa Smith joined HFRS as Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing in 2019, she started to work on menopause support for women employees. Her work was informed by research from the Fire Brigades Union and the University of Brighton. The HFRS Menopause Policy was launched later in 2019 and more recently the Occupational Health Team have organised menopause awareness sessions to mixed groups of staff throughout autumn 2021 as part of the Health and Wellbeing training available to all staff. These session will raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to speak openly, for women to seek help and for managers to be able to understand and support menopausal women employees throughout the Service. Another aim of the Policy is to encourage women to seek support for any symptoms and issues relating to menopause in the workplace.
Listen to Lisa speaking about this work here