Fire response times rise in region despite a fall in callouts
- Credit: Archant
Fire service response times in Suffolk and Essex have significantly increased in the last decade despite incident callouts dropping.
The Fire Brigade Union have criticised the increase, saying that just ‘20 seconds can make the difference between life and death’
Statistics published by the Home office reveal that in 2016/17, the average response time to a fire in Suffolk was 9.6 minutes. By 2016/17 it had risen to 11.4 minutes, an increase of 18%.
In the same time span, incident call outs have reduced by 55.8% from 1,413 to 624.
Meanwhile in Essex, response times have gone up by 23%, from eight minutes to 9.9 minutes.
You may also want to watch:
It also saw a drop in incident call outs, from 2,869 in 2006/07 to 1,691 in 2016/17 – a fall of 41%.
Riccardo LaTorre, secretary of the FBU in the eastern region, said: “Just 20 seconds can be the difference between life and death.
- 1 Murder-suicide probe after couple found dead in Woodbridge
- 2 'Our fund is $13 billion and we’re holding $700m in cash' - The money behind Ipswich Town's new owners
- 3 Woman arrested on suspicion of drink-driving following A14 crash
- 4 'You either deliver or you leave' - Cook's message to Town players
- 5 Paul Cook speaks about Ipswich Town takeover for first time
- 6 National Trust 'deeply saddened' at death of volunteers in Woodbridge incident
- 7 Woodbridge community 'saddened' after couple found dead by police
- 8 The first five jobs for Ipswich Town's new owners
- 9 Serious crash closes road in Bury St Edmunds near A14
- 10 Long queues at Primark from 7am in Ipswich as lockdown eases
“Even the most casual observer can see why we don’t get to fires as quickly.
“We have lost more firefighters, engines and stations in Suffolk and Essex than we have seen in a lifetime and it is taking longer and longer to get to fires.”
Mark Hardingham, Chief Fire Officer, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, said fire response times has been rising nationally over the last 20 years, a trend he says is reflected in Suffolk
He said: “However, in terms of how safe people are from fires, the numbers of fire-related injuries and fatalities has reduced nationally and in Suffolk over the last 10 years and remains low, comparing well with other parts of the country. We are committed to responding to incidents as quickly as we can and are always exploring and bringing in new initiatives to improve our performance.”
He said the decrease in callouts was a reflection of the fire safety work carried out by firefighters however the FBU says the rate of actual fires has remained steady.
A spokesperson for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “The pattern seen in Essex matches the national long-term trend of increasing response times.
“A range of factors have contributed to this, including changing traffic levels. Our community safety strategies, supported by targeted prevention activities, have contributed to a 41% fall in the number of incidents we have attended over the last decade. This reduction reflects the national trend.”