CLOSER collaboration with other emergency services has been identified as a priority for the county’s fire service in the coming years.

Following a public consultation and engagement with other partners, police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst has unveiled a draft fire and rescue plan for the next five years.

The plan includes a vision for the fire service and Essex Police increasing the use of shared buildings and more operational partnership including in the control rooms.

Ways to work with the East of England Ambulance Service will also be explored.

Firefighters will be expected to enhance health and community safety and improve performance by using technology to co-ordinate responses with their colleagues.

Among other priorities identified in the plan is for prevention, protection and response, improving safety on the roads and helping vulnerable people to stay safe.

Introducing the plan, Mr Hirst said: “Safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build well-being and prosperity for all.

“This requires all emergency services to work well together, to be efficient and effective in the service they provide, to prevent incidents wherever possible and to be closely embedded in the communities they serve.

“The Fire and Rescue Service has a special mission in this, to make Essex a safe place to live, work and travel.

“Having an efficient and effective response when it is needed is crucial, but for me preventing incidents happening in the first place is just as important. Over the last decade the number of fires and the devastating personal and financial impact they have has significantly reduced across Essex.

“We need to be ambitious and should aim for there to be no preventable deaths from fire in Essex.

“We can also work to improve road safety and expand how we keep vulnerable people safe, protect residents and find new ways to reduce the risk of harm.At its heart, we need to make sure that the public in Essex are getting the best possible fire and rescue service.

“We need a service that continues to drive down the number of incidents, has effective and efficient prevention, protection and response activities in place, works well within communities and with their partners and is transparent, open and accessible.

“By doing this we can deliver more for our communities, we can help people stay safe and most importantly we can reduce the number of people seriously injured or killed and ensure we have the safe and secure communities we all want.”

Other priorities are promoting a positive workplace culture, being transparent and making the best use of resources.

If agreed by the police, fire and crime panel the plan will be launched later this month.