Posted on 30/01/2023 in Fire Safety 2023
UK fire response times continue to worsen

Primary fire response times in the UK have increased by nearly a minute over the last decade, to nearly nine minutes. This is the time between a call being made and fire services arriving at a fire, for “primary” fires (fires susceptible to impact people or property). Response times have been increasing gradually since 1995, except for during Covid. Average fire response time increased 15 seconds 2021 to 2022, principally because of increased driving times. For comparison, Yeoman et al. 2011 indicate fire response times from 7 ½ minutes (urban areas) to 10 ½ minutes in South East USA. Claridge & Spearpoint 2016 indicate 90% achievement of 7 ½ minutes for permanent fire stations and 90% x 10 minutes for volunteer-staffed fire stations in New Zealand. The UK Fire Brigades Union (“It’s About Time”, Wrack, 2010, cited in Jusoh 2022) suggest that after around 9 minutes a fire often cannot be extinguished by the first firefighting team to arrive, requiring a full team and equipment, and after 10 minutes risks leading to further physical injuries, worse property damage and difficulty to control the fire.

“Detailed analysis of response times to fires attended by fire and rescue services: England, April 2021 to March 2022”, UK Government, 2022

“Average fire response times in England rise by 15 seconds”, International Fire Safety Journal, 28 December 2022

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