Environment Agency-Fire and Rescue Services consider collaboration during major air quality incidents

They explored how co-ordinating the use of their resources could help during accidental chemical releases or large fires that can lead to toxic material entering the atmosphere

By Priyanka Shrestha

Collaboration between the Environment Agency and the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) could help to efficiently produce better air quality information during major incidents.

That was the key findings of a project which explored how co-ordinating the use of both the organisations’ resources could help during incidents such as accidental chemical releases or large fires that can lead to toxic material entering the atmosphere.

The FRS is required to assess the risks close to an incident to help decide on protective measures for its staff and the extent of any area that needs to be cordoned off for public safety and the Environment Agency also operates several mobile air quality monitoring units.

While a “working together” agreement already exists between the two organisations covering flood response and pollution control, they are considering extending it to cover air quality monitoring.

However, they said the current limiting factor is the lack of a common platform for sharing data when called out to major air quality incidents.

The organisations are considering undertaking pilot exercises based on a variety of scenarios and delivery options to assess the different models for the delivery of improved air quality data and sharing.

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