This year’s Emergency Services Show (ESS), taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, on 7 and 8 September 2021, is designed to equip frontline workers with the tools and techniques needed to maximise well-being and drive performance.
‘Employees of blue light services are at greatest risk of experiencing mental health issues and yet among the least likely to deal with them,’ explains David Brown, event director of the Emergency Services Show. ‘A recent survey also showed 69% of emergency responders feel their mental health has deteriorated during the pandemic. Improving well-being makes frontline working safer, more effective, and more rewarding, so we must now make it a priority to build resilience in our emergency services.’
The dedicated Health & Wellbeing Seminar Theatre, sponsored by MSA Safety, will feature a speaker line-up of experienced professionals who will share their expertise of mental wellness, health and nutrition, menopause, fatigue, workforce diversity, and the latest digital support platforms. Mind Blue Light will talk about Mind’s COVID-19 response and offer advice on how emergency responders can look after their own mental health and support their colleagues during the pandemic. Consultant psychotherapist, Rebekah Golds-Jones, will present findings from her MSc thesis on suicide and first responders, which considers how to reduce the stigma around seeking mental health support and the importance of therapy for 999 teams.
Audiences will also hear about the real-life experiences of practitioners, front line responders, and experts in the field including the likes of Andy Elwood, an experienced former RAF paramedic and now campaigner on mental well-being. Other speakers include Greg Lesson from London Fire Brigade, who will talk about the work he has been doing on nutrition and diet with the fire service to help maintain firefighters in peak physical and mental shape. Anna Stec, professor in fire chemistry and toxicity at UCLan, will present a session on minimising firefighters’ exposure to toxic fire effluents.
The mental health of service users will be the subject of a session presented by James Lewis of South Western Ambulance. He will showcase the Trust’s ground-breaking project that uses animal therapy to help fight community isolation, thereby reducing pressure on the ambulance service.
Delegates will also hear how the police federation is fighting for changes to current legislation on police conduct cases that currently have no time cap and are often the cause of considerable distress to officers.
Diversity in the fire and rescue service will be covered by Jenny Pollock and Emma Shute from the organisation Women to Work. They will share their experiences of working with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to overcome the barriers to women’s progression in the service, enabling them to maximise their potential.
Visitors can also find out how a digital workplace platform called 87% has helped tens of thousands of frontline workers to build mental fitness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform has been used by NHS Practitioner Health, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Air Ambulances UK, the London Ambulance Service, and Police Scotland.
In the networking hub of the show, The Collaboration Zone, over 80 emergency services, voluntary groups, charities, and NGOs will be sharing details of the support they offer. Organisations involved include Christian Ambulance Association, Railway Mission, Response Pastors, The Fire Fighters Charity, and UK Firefighters Sailing Challenge. Visitors can also find out more about the UK’s first ever cycling club to support emergency service workers. Launched this summer, the Bluelight Cycling Club provides emergency service workers with an opportunity to network and access peer support from like-minded colleagues while enjoying the mental and physical benefits of cycling. The club raises money for five emergency services charities and members can access deals and discounts from major sports brands.
The newly launched Future Policing Zone will also showcase organisations such as Oscar Kilo, Police Care UK, Surfwell – Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police, and Service Dogs UK who are providing best practice, research, and guidance to help shape the well-being agenda and encourage collaboration.
In the main exhibition, visitors with an interest in well-being can speak to safety technology experts MSA Safety about their campaign to protect firefighters’ health. Meanwhile, people services’ experts Rego will be discussing transforming workplace culture, The Eleos Partnership will be sharing tips on reducing the impacts of stress and pressure, and PTSD999 will be offering trauma response training, expertise on psychological health and safety, and the assessment and treatment of PTSD.
Health and well-being is also a key theme in the co-located Health & Safety Event. As post-Covid working practices evolve, experts in the Lone Worker Theatre will share their knowledge and practical experience of managing well-being for lone and remote workers. The British Safety Council’s conference programme includes an entire day dedicated to health and well-being, while each afternoon in the Professional Development Zone, HSE Recruitment Network’s team of advisors will host sessions on culture and community, showing employers how to build a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Free-to-attend and based in Hall 5 and the Outside Area at the NEC, The Emergency Services Show 2021 will for the first time be co-located with not only The Health & Safety Event but also The Safety & Security Event Series, The Fire Safety Event, The Security Event, The Facilities Event, and the newly launched National Cyber Security Show, creating the UK’s largest event dedicated to the protection of people, places, and assets.
The NEC Venue Protect programme ensures all participants in The Emergency Services Show enjoy a COVID-safe and secure visit with comprehensive social distancing measures and enhanced cleaning and sanitisation.
Parking at the NEC for show visitors is free. Register in advance for free entry to all six events with a single pass.