Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

We are Norfolk’s Fire and Rescue Service, (NFRS) part of Norfolk County Council. We prevent fires and other emergencies; protecting people, buildings, and the environment; and responding to fires and emergencies across Norfolk.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

We have resolved to do everything in our power to reduce the risk of deaths in our fire service and to progress the conversation with other Fire and Rescue Services across the country. Given the complexity of suicide, we consider prevention and promoting wellbeing to be the most important approach.

We are focused on extensively exploring and sharing our wellbeing and suicide prevention work; our work will be driven by best practice and the most up to date research, embedded in the lived experience of our teams and co-designed by them, and unequivocally prioritised by our leadership. We are supported by an external advisory panel.

What are your current priorities?

Our priorities have been defined based on our own organisational context and underpinned by evidence from the Fire Fighters Charity and Nottingham Trent University, led by Professor Rowena Hill:
– Build pride and purpose: ensure all our people are proud to work for NFRS and feel valued and appreciated for the important work they do for their communities
– Speak up and share: ensure talking about experiences and feelings is commonplace, psychological safety exists and people are encouraged to share their problems and build their resilience

– Offer help proactively: ensure initiatives exist to help people cope with emerging issues
– Target intervention and provide programme of tailored support: ensure individual plans and clinical interventions are provided where needed.

What challenges are you currently facing?

Organisational structure and geography: fire and rescue staff are typically a harder to reach workforce, due to the majority being on-call fire fighters and working in other jobs as their primary employment.

Culture change: challenging ‘traditional’ views and encouraging staff to talk about their problems and/or seek mental health support.  Inclusion of all staff is key.