Fire PRO

From the committee

A word from the FirePro Committee Chair

It is often said that in evolution, it’s not about survival of the fittest, but survival of those who adapt.

And so we find ourselves as a sector and a profession continually striving to adapt to changes around us and take those evolutionary steps. 

FirePro Chair Paul Compton

Tickets on sale now!  Get your FirePro tickets.

With the final round of HMICFRS reports due out later this year, an uncertain national political situation, and ongoing change projects, the sector is certainly being kept on its toes.

I’m a firm believer that with all change, comes opportunity. And that’s where the sector and we as communicators need to grasp the opportunities change brings. Because any change needs good communications, and our leaders are looking to us to support them through these times.

FirePRO has been adapting too. Over the course of the year, we have worked to strengthen the National Committee membership and clearly define our purpose.

This is so that we can focus our energy on activities that will help communicators across the sector adapt, develop and make the biggest impact.

This includes setting the standard for good communications in the sector, working with members and leaders to firmly embed communications as a strategic management function, opening doors to training and development opportunities for all fire and rescue communicators, and working closely with our partners in the NFCC and Home Office as a critical friend on national campaigns.

The first step for us is to understand what the world is like for communicators across the sector. And I’d like to thank everyone who has completed the sector-wide survey.

The insights you provide in the survey will help us to target our plans and training at the areas that will benefit you the most. It will also help us to look at how we grow FirePRO in the future to best support you as members. If you haven’t completed it yet, there’s still time! See details below.

Next up will be the annual FirePRO conference. Following on from 2018’s action-packed event, this year’s is going to be longer, have more interactive sessions than ever, and focus on some great topics linked to the sector as well as wider communications learning and discussion.

Early bird tickets are now on sale and details of speakers and sessions will be announced in coming weeks. We’ll also be announcing a further programme of training events in the new year. Watch this space!

We want to hear about all the great work you are doing, so if you have a campaign or piece of work you are proud of, share it with us

Paul Compton

Head of Communications and Engagement, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, and Chair of FirePRO

Our constitution

During the first six months of the year, the FirePRO National Committee has been in workshop mode to look at how we are structured and focused to best support the sector.

The result of this is our new constitution. This is a formal document which sets out how FirePRO is governed. The national committee was previously made up of chairs of regional committees. But with frequent changes to comms leads in these areas and low representation in others, the committee had reduced to a small committed group. Now, the committee is made up of people from across the country who have committed to be involved.

Download and read the FirePRO Constitution PDF 98.7KB

With a strong national structure, we feel we’re in a better place to support members beyond training events and the FirePRO Conference. We’re also in a better place to now look at supporting regional FirePRO groups and will be looking to bolster these soon.

The national committee membership is:

  • Paul Compton, chair (Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue)
  • Jack Grasby, vice chair (South Yorkshire)
  • Robyn Hall, co-ordinator (Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue)
  • Elizabeth Curtis, treasurer (East Sussex Fire and Rescue)
  • Katie Round, events co-ordinator (Hampshire Fire and Rescue)
  • Pete Richardson, member communications (London Fire Brigade)
  • Richard Edney, partnerships (Lancashire Fire and Rescue)
  • Alex Mills, local government partnerships (South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue)
  • Antony Masters, police partnerships (Kent Fire and Rescue)
  • Louise Knox/Emily Cheeseman (Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue)
  • Sarah Irving (Cleveland Fire and Rescue)
  • Rebecca Meredith (South Wales Fire and Rescue)

The constitution also sets out our aims to support sector communicators. Every fire and rescue communicator is automatically enrolled as a member of FirePRO. As a membership body, we’re here to make sure you have the best opportunity to thrive in your role. That means working with members and leaders across the sector to promote communications best practice, to provide learning and development opportunities for all members, to work closely with partners, such as NFCC, Home Office, HMICFRS, local government, other blue light services and unions, and be a voice for the sector by advocating for and championing the work of sector communications teams.

The national committee will launch a workplan later this year and programme of events for 2020.

Case studies

Amber's Warning - a comms case study

Hampshire fire and rescue talk us through one of their most effective campaigns to date – Amber’s warning.

This innovative and cost effective campaign drove down the number of kitchen fires in their target audience by over two thirds.

The campaign also bagged the team shortlistings in the UK Content Awards 2019 and CIPR Pride Awards 2019.

What was the campaign trying to achieve?

The Amber’s warning campaign sought to reduce the number of accidental kitchen fires in Southampton City Council blocks.

Who was your audience?

Incident data highlighted the top three most at risk groups to have a kitchen fire as:

  • Elderly people 70+
  • Young single people
  • Social housing renters

What did you do?

To show the devastating effects of a kitchen fire, and how easily it can happen, we created a powerful case study video.

In the video you hear from firefighters and Amber, the victim of the fire.

25 year old, single mum Amber came home from a night out and feeling peckish she put some chips on her hob to cook. Feeling tired Amber took herself off to bed. The pan of oil to boiled over and ignited her kitchen. Thankfully a neighbour was disturbed in the early hours by Amber’s smoke alarm and dialled 999.

We then promoted the video among the residents of 18 Southampton City Council blocks through a poster campaign.

After targeting the Southampton City Council blocks specifically, we used Amber’s Warning on our social channels to expose our wider audience to this engaging case study with a serious message.

Did it work?

In a word, yes! During the span of the campaign through February and March 2019, there were no incidents in the 18 blocks we targeted. Annual data highlights a reduction in kitchen fires by over two thirds.

The campaign also got some great feedback from Hants Fire staff – which we all know can be very helpful.

“Just wanted to say fantastic video. Really professional and you’ve done a brilliant job with everything about it...including most importantly the message it sends out.

Really well done. We’re all really impressed at Rushmoor. ”

James Dowd, Firefighter, Rushmoor


What tools did you use?

We used mosaic data to profile our target audience.

Meetings with councils, universities and health groups allowed us to really get to know about our audience and ultimately lead to us chossing Amber's story as our casestudy.

Video and posters were the key formats for the campaign. Using posters to promote the video proved to be effective with a captive audience like residents of a block.

We used our social channels to push the message to our wider audience. The video gathered over 76,000 views through this promotion.

Read all about it…

Hampshire’s comms team have kindly allowed us to publish their evaluation for you to read and take inspiration from.

Download the evaluation PDF

Hints, tips and help

TikTok and how the public sector can approach it… and a health warning

A useful article from Dan Slee on TikTok

Read the article 

Another dimension! Back to basics on image sizes for social media

It's not always top of your strategy, but the size and dimensions of the images you use on social media can effect how much people will engage with your content.

Check your dimensions now!

FirePRO events

Tickets now on sale for this year’s FirePRO Conference

The annual FirePRO Conference is back for another year with a fantastic line-up of speakers and interactive sessions.

Tickets on sale now!  Get your FirePro tickets.

This year the event will take place on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 November – with the second day set to last slightly longer than previous years to accommodate more sessions, more learning and generally more fire comms goodness.

Given that ticket prices have been frozen for another year, this means attendees will get even more for their money.

It will once again be hosted at the Impact Hub in Birmingham and two-day attendees will be treated to the four star Clayton Hotel, and Carol Longman’s legendary FirePRO Quiz.

Impact Hub Birmingham

The final agenda is currently being finalised but has been shaped following feedback from last year’s event – which saw attendees ask for more workshops and more time for discussion, as well as a session on internal comms and an insight into successful campaigns.

Currently confirmed is Trudy Lewis from ABComm, who is going to run an interactive session on internal communications, measurement and leadership, whilst Mike Pounsford will be running a workshop and talking about why listening to your audience matters, following a research project that he’s been working on with PR Academy’s Dr Kevin Ruck.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will give an insight into some of their campaign work, done on a low budget with a small team, and we’ll hear from the Home Office too, who will provide the latest update and offer insight into the refreshed Fire Kills campaign.  

The full line-up will be released as soon as possible but the tickets are very much on sale - get your FirePro tickets now.

The event will be hosted by Dan Slee, co-founder of comms2point0, and is sponsored by PR Gloo. You can find more about them here.

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