Monday, 23 February 2015
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service launched a brand new website today, a project that is being delivered in partnership with the University of Worcester.
The new site (www.hwfire.org.uk) has been completely redesigned and is now responsive so automatically adapts for viewing on a tablet or smart phone, making it one of only a handful of fire and rescue service websites in the UK to do so.
Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates said: “An important part of our desire to make communities safer is to communicate advice to the public. We work tirelessly and have had a high degree of success in this arena: we attend a third less incidents than we did 12 years ago, including a 50 per cent fall in the number of fires we attend.
“The Service's website is key tool for keeping people informed, and while our old site was a respected source of information across a range of subjects, it had become outdated and wasn't as user friendly as expected, especially now so many people access the web on tablets and smartphones.
"I would like to welcome all the residents of Herefordshire and Worcestershire to try out our new website. The redesign has made it easier for you to read, easier for you to navigate your way around and easier for you to interact with your fire and rescue service.”
New features on the site include:
• Online forms; for example, you can now apply for a free Home Fire Safety Check
• Keep up to date with all that's going on via our Events Calendar
• Sign up to RSS updates to keep abreast of all the latest news
• An interactive map that leads you straight to your local fire station.
The website was developed in partnership with students from The Worcester Business School's Media Lab initiative, a student-led design and development lab working in conjunction with the University of Worcester to create web solutions for our community and businesses.
The project was overseen throughout by the academic founder of the Media Lab, Liz Coulter-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Web Design and Development at the university, who said: “The WBS Media Lab is a student-led web development house whose purpose is to give students the opportunity to engage in paid work on client projects alongside their studies. The 'Lab' has been made possible through the visionary support of the Head of the Worcester Business School, Mark Richardson.
“The WBS Media Lab began work on the HWFRS site in July 2014, after opening its doors for work in February 2014. The site was created by only three students: a designer, a developer and a content manager.
“The primary purpose for the HWFRS site was to design a ‘sustainable and maintainable’ website that would take HWFRS into the coming decade. These requirements have meant that the site needed to be ‘responsive’ or, in other words 'designed for all devices'.
“It also meant that information from all areas of the organisation needed the facility, built by us, to keep the content up-to-date and fresh.”
CFO Yates added: “Our work with the University is another great example of how we run the fire and rescue service: we will always seek out partners to assist in doing things better and more efficiently and if those partners are local to our counties, then all the better.”
As well as being a source of safety advice, local residents can also find out about the wide range of responsibilities the Service undertakes, some of which include dealing with water rescues, chemical incidents and road traffic collisions.