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Whilst this essay is about England, the principles can be applied to any nation.
A consultation paper on local plans to transfer responsibility for clearing road traffic accidents, from police to the fire brigade, has drawn heavy criticism from the local Fire Brigade union chief.
I have not seen the plans and do not wish to comment on these proposals, but I think it is time that Britain or at least England had a radical shake up of the whole structure of how we cope with emergency. Firstly, we need to realize geographically England is a relatively small place. It is over populated in urban areas and the rural infrastructure is poor but it is still a small place. We only need one set of bosses, and bureaucracy to manage this area. Modern computer systems should be capable of this. For the sake of vehicle maintenance and materials storage, could have four or five depots but use of these these should be fluid, not fixed with area managers. All staff and materials should be able to cross local boarders when ever efficiency demands.
The next big improvement will come from uniting fire and rescue, ambulances and police road traffic divisions. Police will still deal with crime but those officers who deal with any and all, non criminal traffic or emergencies, would transfer to the national emergency force. Hospitals will still run transportation ambulances, but all accident and emergency services would move from their NHS regional trusts to the same national emergency force. The only real capital investment will be in the building of accident and emergency hospitals, the existing equipment can be transferred. In time it may be practical to have specialized vehicles constructed that utilizes paramedic facilities and rescue equipment. The hospital space vacated can be used for additional hospital beds. The fire brigade will be transferred directly to this national emergency force. The air ambulance services can stop being dependent on charity and become a fully integrated part of this national emergency force. Including the Royal Life Boat services would be ideal, but this may run into localized problems since so many of the very skilled and brave people who operate this service do so voluntarily. If a way can be found to include this, then a truly national comprehensive service will be created.
By having one modern well equipped management, money can be redirected to actual front line staff. It should be possible to actually pay all the operational staff worthwhile salaries. The saving in management overheads should give all operational staff at least a 50 percent pay rise.
There will be protests from the thousands of managers and diversity consultants but in the end a well managed, well equipped, well motivated and well paid national emergency force could save lives.
This force would have direct links to military commanders to ensure coordinated action in cases of major incidents, acts of terrorism etc.
This idea needs a lot of detailed work but the principle of a small modern management that minimizes bureaucracy yet controls all emergency activity in the whole country, should be a great improvement n what exists, improvement for the operational staff and the victims.
The detailed work must NOT be done by any existing government bureaucrats or service managers. They will do what they always do, build in an ever expanding administration and reduce funding for operational work.
There must not be any political control. Politicians should not be allowed to influence this service. To keep them out, the national emergency force should have, by law, a budget fixed as a proportion of a specific measurement of national wealth. For example the law could say the total budget for the force is to be 5 percent of GDP as measured on the first of July each year.