|By PR Newswire||
|September 10, 2013 09:50 AM EDT|
BIRMINGHAM, England, September 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
A recent survey of emergency services first responders* undertaken on behalf of the Emergency Services Show (NEC, 25-26 September 2013) highlights the improvements and challenges which interoperability is bringing to everyone involved in the emergency services, while also identifying the positive impact of advances in products and new technology.
As the emergency services' well co-ordinated and highly commended response to the recent Sheppey Bridge road traffic incident clearly demonstrated, interoperability among police, fire and rescue and ambulance services as well as voluntary organisations like the Red Cross, St John's Ambulance and Salvation Army and private sector recovery operators is vital to ensuring the best response to major incidents.
In the survey, 54% of first responders agreed or strongly agreed that the roles and responsibilities of each service attending emergency incidents are fully understood, while 31% disagreed or strongly disagreed that this was the case. But almost without exception these professionals felt that further multi-agency training would improve co-operation between teams attending incidents (97% agreed or strongly agreed).
Over 80% also agreed or strongly agreed that a lack of multi-agency training can endanger lives. While a third said they agreed or strongly agreed that they regularly train alongside other agencies to prepare for emergencies, closer to a half of respondents said they did not. Despite financial pressures relatively few also said that less priority had been given to training within their organisation during the last six months - with 43% agreeing it was less of a priority but 33% saying it was not.
Miscommunication emerged as by far the commonest problem first responders experience when co-operating with other emergency services at incidents, with some three-quarters saying this was an issue. Under-resourcing of staff was also identified as a problem by 45%, but just under a third also said over-resourcing was equally an issue.
More than two-thirds (68.9%) of respondents said that their service did not currently share any resources with other emergency services, but 21.2% said they did share station facilities.
Benefits of New Products and Technologies
Just under three-quarters said advances in mobile communications had had a positive or very positive effect. Around 60% also said that advances in vehicles and vehicle technology had made a positive of very positive difference.
Consolidation among Emergency Services
Uncertainty continues to surround the possible restructuring of the emergency services into regional, national or combined services, but over three-quarters of first responders thought it was likely or highly likely that fire and rescue services would amalgamate to become regional within the next three to five years. This compares to a figure of 64% who expected the same to happen in the police service.
Impact of Private Sector
Three quarters thought that private sector companies would have a greater role in the emergency services in the future, but 58% also thought that greater use of private sector companies would have a negative effect on interoperability.
The Emergency Services Show
The Emergency Services is focused on promoting interoperability and provides visitors with valuable opportunities to learn, network and progress their career development. Visitors can access the latest emergency services products and services from over 400 exhibiting companies and organisations, as well as workshops, seminars, and live rescue demonstrations.
To register in advance to visit go to: http://www.emergencyuk.com/prx
*The survey was completed by first responders working across all emergency services in the week commencing 17th August 2013.
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Doug Bentall at Iona Communications
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