This viewpoint article chronicles the change and transformation that has taken place in the UK Fire and Rescue Service over the last few years, from the perspective of one Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive. The article describes a fundamental shift in thinking and approaches ‐ from ‘cure to prevention’ ‐ with every firefighter now expected to be both an emergency response professional, as well as a safety professional.The article also describes the shift from traditional fire brigades to networked fire and rescue services, providing a collaborative approach to managing a wide range of civil emergencies ‐ including the terrorist threat and the impact and consequences of climate change. It details some of the leadership challenges associated with changing a very hierarchical, rule‐bound organisation, with a strong embedded culture and a high level of unionisation. The article identifies the positive social/public good outcomes now emerging ‐ including impressive figures for the reduction of emergency incidents and, crucially, deaths and injuries from fire. The article also includes a brief case study of where the ‘brand’ of the Fire and Rescue Service ‐ and the facilities of the local station ‐ have been used to engage young people in sport as an alternative to gang culture/membership.
McGuirk, S. (2010), "From cure to prevention ‐ transformational change in the Fire and Rescue Service", International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 18-21. https://doi.org/10.5042/ijlps.2010.0632Download as .RIS
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