The annual FirePRO event takes place in Birmingham. The event for fire service communicators takes place in a year with Grenfell Tower and other incidents that will live long in the memory.
by James Morton
Before it had even started, 2017 was shaping up to be a momentous year for the fire service.
The service was firmly in the crosshairs of the Government’s reform agenda with transparency, efficiency…the usuals. The new Policing and Crime Act would demand closer collaboration between blue light services, while also giving Police and Crime Commissioners the option to take over fire services. Then there was devolution and all that came with that.
Yet the year has been dominated by other events so seismic that these issues have been comprehensively dwarfed.
The events at Grenfell Tower on June 14 will go on to shape the fire sector - and beyond - for decades to come. (If you’ve not yet had the privilege of reading the column from London Fire Brigade’s head of comms Glenn Sebright on their team’s response to Grenfell, then you can read it elsewhere on this site.)
The Manchester Arena terror attack saw the UK threat level raised to its highest point – critical - for the first time in almost a decade.
Just months later – following another attack on the District underground line – we were back at critical again.
And it’s still only September.
Among it all, the abilities and expertise of the comms teams has shone through. There has been so much to admire and learn from, and we will be capturing and sharing as much of this as possible at this year’s FirePRO Conference.
We will also be turning our attention to the usual comms challenges – getting the best from digital, making campaigns fly – and hopefully providing inspiration through eye-catching case studies.
Oh, and those guys from Comms2Point0 will be there too, but don’t let that put you off…
James Morton is current chair of FirePRO, the network representing communications professionals and teams across the UK fire service.
- The FirePRO Conference, supported by Comms2Point0, takes place in Birmingham on November 14-15. Tickets are available now (password: FirePro2017).