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Problem 1: We don’t know what digital transformation is taking place in each fire and rescue service

The NFCC represents 50 different fire and rescue services (FRS), each with its own existing activities, priorities and ideas for how to better use data and technology to improve its service. To better understand the current digital landscape within the FRS, the DDP held an unconference event in Birmingham.

An unconference is a conference without an agenda. Attending delegates are invited to offer their own content and discussion points to structure the day and guests are free to choose which discussions to join and move between. The aim of the unconference was to establish a baseline for the current digital capabilities and initiatives underway within the fire and rescue services. Approximately 50 self-described ‘digital disruptors’ from across the UK fire and rescue services attended the day to talk about the role of digital technology, current digital initiatives, and ideas and plans for the future. Attendees were encouraged to share ideas, gain feedback and look for collaboration opportunities within the group. 

There was good participation on the day, with a wide variety of topics being discussed, as summarised in figure 1 below. A common theme that connected many of these stories was the importance of using data to guide decision making in the services. The unconference also proved to be an effective means to establish channels of communication and areas of common interest across fire and rescue services.

1 Join up data from control to that on incident ground
Claire Hursell

How do we know what works?

Alex Rhodes

Building open source community for fire
Tim Needham
Desktop mobility - agile working 
Marcus Boyce
2 Machine learning in FRS

Apollo Gerolymbos
Transforming leadership

James Cornford

Debriefing app 
Mobilising app

Ian Nelson & Dylan Bettles-Hill

Location tracking of firefighters in buildings (GovTech funded)

Steve McLinden

3 Public facing digital tools using agile
Pete Richardson

Wearable technologies

Tim Clapp

MAIT - transfer of incident data

Matt Petts

Barrier Failure methods for learning
Jim Davies
4 MDTs on appliances how to get crews to use them
Gamification of risk data
Training materials too

Chris O’Conner, Paul McCourt 
& Mick South

Common data model to share data 

Steve Allen

Digitally transform a fire and rescue service

Steve McLinden


Figure 1: Digital and data topics explored by FRS delegates during the unconference.