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Meet Sarah, our Business Safety Advisor for Buxton, Derbyshire Dales and High Peak

Sarah joined Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) in August, during a time of significant change due to Coronavirus. Now a month into the role, we catch up to talk all things Business Safety and joining DFRS.

What first attracted you to work for the Service?

I’ve always loved the Fire Service and have attended the previous open days with my family. I’ve also got working experience in fire safety and knowledge of Derbyshire, so the Business Safety Advisor role intrigued me. The variety of the role and the engagement with my local businesses and communities in Buxton, Derbyshire Dales and High Peak lead me to apply.

Were you involved in fire safety before joining DFRS?

Yes, in my role prior to joining the Service I managed health and safety compliance across 50+ large holiday properties all over the Peak District. It required me to have knowledge and training surrounding fire risk assessments and fire safety, an area I’ve always been interested to learn more about.

What was it like to join a new organisation during Covid-19

It’s actually allowed me more time to settle in quietly and gradually, to both a new role and a new organisation. I’ve had plenty of time to get to grips with the role and carry out training, as well as dig into the background of DFRS. There really is so much more to the Service, that the public don’t see, and it’s been really interesting to learn how everything operates.

What’s been useful is the opportunity to meet colleagues and clients gradually, rather than all at once, which may not have been the case had we not been restricted with social distancing.

Tell us a bit about the role of a Business Safety Advisor (BSA)

There are a number of aspects to the role, but to put it simply, the preventative side involves assisting businesses by offering fire safety advice; like where to find relevant partners or further resources, give guidance to ensure they’re compliant with the law and be their direct contact for all things fire safety.

We will also actively search for low risk premises to offer businesses safety advice to, as well as joining our fire crews on pre-booked visits within the community to deliver risk reduction presentations and activities.

The other side of the role is to check and monitor unwanted fire signals, to deal with complaints and review licensing applications.

There are more than 30,000 businesses in my region, keeping the role interesting as every job is different. It gives me the opportunity to apply my knowledge to the varied aspects of the role.

Describe a typical day as a BSA

My day starts with a check of our daily incident reports, this will flag any premises I might need to contact following an incident, as well as checking my inbox and our system for any jobs raised.

As I’m still new to the role, between jobs I’ll be carrying out training, meeting crews and colleagues in other departments as I continue to learn the ins and outs of the Service.

Training is carried out with one of the other BSAs, Natalia, as we get ready to complete our Level 3 Fire Safety Training towards the end of September.

Until then I’m working through internal training packages, going over fire protection information and getting used to the campaign materials we have to utilise.

You can keep up to date with all the work carried out by our Business Safety team, by following @DFRSFireSafety on Twitter

sarah posing outside staveley community fire station