What an IRMP is
Since April 2003 every Fire Authority has been required by legislation to produce a local Integrated Risk Management Plan, or IRMP. This is designed to be a plan outlining how the Fire Authority will achieve their objectives. The IRMP should set out an assessment of the local risk to life and how it is going to use it's resources to reduce these risks, including how the Fire Authority intends to work with other agencies. The IRMP is, in short, a business plan for the local Fire Authority.
Risk to communities
The Fire Service National Framework 2005/06 specifies in paragraph 1.2 that an IRMP must set out a strategy for reducing the number of fires, the severity of injuries in fires, and the commercial, economic and social impact of fires. The Arson Prevention Bureau strongly supports these committments and believes that these aims must remain central to IRMP's.
The majority of fire fatalities occur in domestic dwellings. Fatalities also accour in commercial buildings, and this must be recognised and reflected in IRMPs. Quarterly fire statistics for 2004 indicate that the number of fatalities in commercial fires may be rising. If IRMPs are to be successful then they must first be based on an accurate assessment of risk in the local area. Only then can a strategy be developed to tackle that risk, with clear success measures for this strategy.
What an IRMP looks like
There is a duty on Fire Authorities to make their IRMP easy to understand. However, there is not a standard format or structure for IRMPs. Consequently, they come in varying shapes and sizes. Some are glossy, detailed documents, some are straightforward high-level strategic statements, some are available on CR-ROM - it varies considerably. However, broadly one can expect to find information on performance of the Fire Authority in the previous year; proposals for change; policy on responding to fires and other emergencies, including major disasters; and organisational information relevant to the local Authority.
Making IRMPs available
Every Fire Authority must have an IRMP. This IRMP must be accessible to the public, to businesses, and to other stakeholders. It must also be easy to understand. Every IRMP is regularly reviewed and any interested party should be given an opportunity to comment on the IRMP. If you wish to see your local Fire Authority's IRMP then you should either check online to see if it is on their website, or consult your local Fire Brigade who will be able to provide you with a copy.