Amidst the festive celebrations of Bonfire Night, the demand on fire services across the country intensifies. Between 1st – 6th November 2021, there were around 2,170 emergency calls to the London Fire Brigade, 20% of which occurred on Bonfire Night itself. This was the highest number of calls on 5th November since 2016, but things could be much worse in 2023. Why?
Many public fireworks displays around the country are being cancelled due to funding issues caused by inflation and rising energy costs. As a result, it’s expected that more people will have home displays and light bonfires in their gardens, greatly increasing the risks.
The already-strained emergency services will need to be extra-prepared this season, and a vital part of that preparation is having fire appliances and all other equipment ready at any moment – and in the right location.
So, read on to find out how the fire services can improve their maintenance processes and tackle everything from uncontrolled bonfires to arson to logistical challenges.
Seasonal Challenges and Fires
Variety of Incidents
Unlike a typical working day, Bonfire Night can present a wide array of issues. Environmental conditions are a contributing factor; strong winds carry embers to far-off locations, causing unexpected fires, while a dry autumn can make vegetation more susceptible to catching fire.
While many communities are well-informed, there’s always a fraction of the populace that might not adhere to safety guidelines for fireworks and bonfires alike.
Without an awareness of the risks involved, some will set up bonfires without safety clearances or other necessary precautions, potentially causing major hazards. And even when individuals are aware of safety protocols, accidents can happen, leading to fires that rapidly get out of control.
Launching fireworks close to buildings, trees, or crowds can result in unforeseen accidents, as well as fires on rooftops and within other structures. Buildings with thatched rooves are particularly vulnerable as sparks can easily ignite them.
Bonfire night appears to trigger arson. For example, between 15th October – 12th November 2022, 338 deliberate grassland and refuse fires were documented throughout Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockon-On-Tees, and Redcar & Cleveland.
While not directly related to Bonfire Night, it’s worth noting that there’s often a spike in chimney fires at this time of year. This can put further pressure on the already overburdened services.
The sheer number of simultaneous events can strain the logistics of fire services. Roads filled with celebratory crowds can make it challenging for fire appliances to reach incident locations promptly, and with several teams dispatched to various sites, coordinating responses and ensuring enough backup can be taxing.
Ensuring that every fire appliance is adequately equipped becomes paramount around Bonfire Night. Given the number of potential fires, there’s also a risk of fire appliances running out of water more rapidly than on typical days.
In addition, continuous use of equipment on such nights can result in faster wear and tear, potentially compromising functionality in the following days and weeks.
How Can Maintenance Management Software Keep the Fire Services Prepared?
Fire services worldwide are leaning on sophisticated maintenance and asset management software to streamline operations. Some general benefits of this software include:
- Cost control: Through tools such as predictive maintenance, costs are kept to a minimum. As they say, prevention is better than cure, and this applies in the realm of maintenance. This is especially important due to the rising costs of emergency equipment as it’s more cost-effective to properly maintain parts that replace them early.
- Optimised resource allocation: With budget cuts and resources spread thin, CMMS software holds the key to allocating resources in the most efficient way.
- Increased readiness: Through heightened efficiency across the board, fire services can be prepared for the busiest shifts.
Automation is the key to efficiency, and the best computerized maintenance management software is equipped with tools that automate time-consuming and repetitive processes such as admin, scheduling, and reporting.
Not long ago, we released Idhammar Response, a computerized maintenance management system tailored to the emergency services that has robust automation capabilities. Below is an overview of some of its key features.
Idhammar Response CMMS Software Features
Our CMMS software monitors the inventory of every fire appliance. From water levels to fire extinguishers and first aid supplies, fire brigades are assured that each fire appliance dispatched is equipped with necessary tools.
Personnel will no longer waste time searching for assets, and there’s also the option for automatic re-ordering so that inventory is always at its optimal level.
Predictive and Preventive Maintenance
Idhammar Response enables preventive maintenance scheduling and predictive maintenance strategies. Instead of relying on periodic checks, the software can predict when a fire appliance or piece of equipment might fail. This ensures that all assets are in prime condition, reducing the chances of breakdowns during crucial interventions.
With Idhammar Response, this is taken care of within the Condition Tracker module. Its early warning system catches defects early so they can be dealt with before they escalate into disruptive issue. This is vital for protecting firefighters from the consequences equipment malfunctions during calls.
Asset Tracking Across Multiple Locations
Overseeing assets and equipment spread across various sites can be challenging. Fortunately, our CMMS software consolidates essential information, including defect records, tests, and inventory assessments on a unified server, which provides a single source of truth. Also note that the data on assets and their histories is monitorable in real-time for maximum agility.
Our CMMS simplifies tasks like reviewing equipment timelines and assigning resources, regardless of the team’s geographical position. It also has a tool for scanning equipment post-incident, ensuring that any displaced items can be re-allocated to a fire appliance. Users can also inspect equipment after an incident to make sure it’s ready for the next call.
What’s more, maintenance teams can log station evaluations and inventory verifications via mobile devices, saving vital seconds that would have been wasted on returning to the desktop.
With an anticipated surge in home fireworks displays and bonfires due to public event cancellations, the demands on fire services are expected to increase this November. The myriad of potential fire-related incidents – from uncontrolled bonfires to arson – highlight the pressing need for fire brigades to be optimally prepared.
Maintenance software, such as Idhammar Response, ensures readiness for even the busiest of brigades, improving inventory control, enabling proactive maintenance strategies, and much more.
In fact, emergency services around Europe and beyond have been relying on our world class enterprise asset management solutions for many years, reaping the benefits of greater efficiency.
Whether it’s this year’s Bonfire Night or any other peak period you’re anticipating, witness Idhammar Response in action and see for yourself how it can elevate your maintenance operations. Contact us today to book a demo.