Support Systems

All FRS have their own support systems in place to help create a psychologically safe environment, where everyone feels safe to speak up when behaviours are not consistent with the Core Code of Ethics. Examples of such support systems are given below. 

Human Resources (HR)

The HR department provides professional guidance and expertise to line managers and employees. This helps optimise performance and ensures the relationship between the FRS and employees is managed through transparent practices and relevant legislation. The HR team develops relationships with leaders and line managers to enable them to manage and support employees effectively.  

 The department plays a vital role in helping managers, leaders and staff interpret and apply policies equitably and fairly. The HR structure enables and empowers leaders in establishing the needs of the FRS and their employees.  

Staff Networks

Staff networks, such as Women in the Fire Service, Asian Fire Service Association , UK Fire PRIDE play a crucial supportive role for individuals in the FRS who are affected by inappropriate behaviour. These networks provide a safe space for these individuals to share their experiences and seek advice, fostering a sense of community and solidarity. They offer essential support services, including counselling, mentoring and advocacy, which help individuals navigate the challenges they face. Additionally, these networks actively work to raise awareness about issues of inappropriate behaviour, advocate for policy changes and promote a culture of respect and inclusion in the FRS. By doing so, they help create a supportive and equitable environment for all members of the community. There are new national networks emerging all the time and therefore the list of those provide here isn’t exhaustive.   

Safeguarding Team

The safeguarding team will provide advice and guidance on both internal and external safeguarding concerns. 

Colleague Support Scheme

A colleague support scheme offers employees confidential support and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when they feel it may be appropriate and beneficial. Schemes can provide a confidential, informal and non-directive system of support for all members of staff.  

Such schemes are provided by a team of colleague supporters, who are all members of the FRS, selected and trained to carry out the role. Colleague supporters are not regarded as counsellors. However, they can provide support to help individuals deal with their issues and concerns. These may be domestic, social or work-related, including complaints of inappropriate behaviour, bullying and harassment.  

Union Membership

Trade unions provide support to employees, offering them a platform to voice their concerns. The FRS encourage positive relationships with unions on work-related matters.  

Employee assistance programme

An employee assistance programme provides emotional and practical support for issues at home or at work. Services are generally available online or via a freephone telephone line, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Counselling is available via telephone or face-to-face to help employees deal positively with crisis situations and complex issues.  

Employee assistance programme providers are usually advised of any ongoing issues and trends in the FRS. This helps them advise their call handlers if there is an increase in calls relating to a particular issue. This ensures that call handlers can signpost and advise appropriately.  

Mental Health Champions

Mental health champions are individuals who dedicate themselves to improving mental health awareness in their workplace. Their aim is to raise awareness, challenge mental health stigma and promote understanding across the FRS. There are several external partners who work with FRS to support and train staff, including the Blue Light Programme from Mind and Lifelines Scotland 


The Fire Fighters Charity

The Fire Fighters Charity offers specialist, lifelong support for members of the UK FRS community. This empowers individuals to achieve mental, physical and social well-being throughout their lives. The charity provides independent, personalised support to all FRS employees, whatever their role. The support extends to retirees as well as spouses and dependants over the age of 18.  

The Fire Fighters Charity can provide personalised support to meet individual mental, physical and social needs, delivered in the most appropriate way. One example is the Reset Programme. The programme helps employees develop and improve their resilience and overall mental fitness through a series of workshops and activities tailored to their individual needs. The aim of the programme is to equip participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to manage the challenges they are facing.  

Suicide Crisis Line

The Fire Fighters Charity also have a 24/7 Crisis Line to directly combat suicide among present and past FRS employees by directly supporting them at a point of crisis. The Crisis Line is staffed by specially trained clinicians who understand the FRS community and the emergency services sector.  

Critical Incident Debrief Scheme

Critical incident debriefs are facilitated meetings aimed at supporting those involved in critical incidents to share their experiences in a safe environment. All FRS should maintain a critical incident debrief scheme to provide support and assistance to members of staff who have experienced a potentially traumatic event or incident. This may include interdepartmental issues affecting working relationships in teams, such as matters relating to bullying and harassment. Support is provided by a team of debriefers, who are all members of the FRS, selected and trained to carry out the role.  

Occupational Health

All FRS have an internal or external Occupational Health service (OH) where employees can access a wide range of welfare support. After an employee has been seen by an OH doctor, guidance is provided to the FRS on appropriate measures to support them 

Regular Health and Fitness Reviews (health screening) and health and fitness promotion

Regular health and fitness reviews with the Fitness Team may include weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, blood pressure measurements and an aerobic fitness assessment. These reviews include enabling discussion about both physical and mental health. Therefore, they offer another avenue through which staff can obtain support or raise concerns and be signposted accordingly. The Fitness Team can also provide employees with information, advice and guidance about health and fitness.