Research & Development Activities in the English and Welsh Fire and Rescue Services
The Fire Industry Association recently commissioned research from Kingston University on the English and Welsh Fire and Rescue Services’ current Research and Development activities. Financed through the FIA Research Fund, the work was carried out by Emily Martin, Post Graduate Researcher at Kingston University, under the direction of Dr Ian Greatbatch, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Science, Engineering and Computing.
It indicates significant work within each Service but finds that this effort is largely unstructured and uncoordinated, leading to much duplication and processes which are neither efficient nor cost-effective. It is estimated that taking salary costs alone, annual expenditure on R&D is a minimum of £9 m per annum and probably closer to £13 m per year and strongly suggests that a more centralised approach would offer cost savings as well as producing better results.
The Fire Minister, Brandon Lewis, referred to the work of the FIA alongside CFOA and the Fire Service College in his speech at the Fire Sector Summit on 20th October. With a Memorandum of Understanding in place between the three parties, they are working to deliver an RDTI Hub at the College which will act as a central focal point for R&D activities across the Fire and Rescue Services, including equipment evaluations where duplicated effort is so costly to both the Services and the suppliers.