I want to pay tribute to and pass on huge thanks to firefighters, officers and control room staff who dealt with an unprecedented surge in demand for our services yesterday afternoon. Also to the support teams from across the service who helped with vehicle issues and logistics, delivering of supplies to incidents and provided general support.
Their professionalism, dedication and commitment to serving our communities was exemplary and I am so proud of their efforts.
I have worked within the fire and rescue service for almost 24 years and I cannot recall such an unprecedented level of demand, in such difficult conditions. As the surge in calls ramped up yesterday afternoon, our control staff and officers had to prioritise incidents based on risk to life and property. On occasion, we had to leave fires burning that were not affecting life or property to attend other, more serious incidents.
Normally, if we experienced a high demand such as this, we could request support either regionally or nationally- but the difference yesterday was that almost every single fire and rescue service was experiencing the same thing.
If the record breaking temperatures we saw across the UK yesterday are a sign of things to come and we experience days like yesterday more and more, then the whole sector needs to be better equipped to deal with such extreme levels of demand.