Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fire Service Goes into Business to Help Meet Cost of Cuts; PARTNERSHIPS

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fire Service Goes into Business to Help Meet Cost of Cuts; PARTNERSHIPS

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.co.uk

FIRE chiefs have set up a company that aims to generate revenue as it tries to deal with Government budget cuts.

The company set up by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFSC) is targeting major growth on an international scale.

Since 2010, the service has had the equivalent of around PS14m of Government support removed, and had to consider fire station closures as it struggled to protect frontline services.

But with further cuts forecast, the organisation decided to set up a separate trading business, the profits from which will be used to support its wider activities in the region, helping reduce the risk of emergencies and ultimately protecting lives. Impeller Assurance and Resilience Ltd draws on skills developed over many years in the service through what chief fire officer Tom Capeling called a "business intelligence-led approach".

The enterprise is divided into four streams: consultancy, assurance and risk management; response, resilience and development; engineered fire safety solutions; and fleet and asset management.

Focusing on clients in government, emergency response, construction, engineering, high risk industries, and risk and performance management, it has already secured contracts locally, with the likes of the Percy Hedley Foundation, and further afield with major companies such as BP. Assistant chief fire officer, John Baines, who has been seconded part-time to Impeller as its executive chairman, envisages this is just the start of a major growth trajectory.

"We will continue to support businesses in the North of England," he said. "But we also want to be able to push beyond any geographical boundaries.

"I think the national and international markets are where we can really have an influence and bring great value to businesses working overseas, as well as governments.

"Across the world, UK fire and rescue is seen as pretty much the safest."

The new business was established following a feasibility study undertaken in 2014. …

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