Last edited 03 Aug 2016

Fire and rescue service

Contents

[edit] Introduction

The fire and rescue service are required to provide the following services:

  • Promotion of fire safety and enforcement of fire safety regulation.
  • Fire fighting.
  • National resilience.
  • Other special services, such as rescuing people from road traffic accidents.

The fire and rescue service is governed by local fire authorities, which are the legislative, public and administrative bodies of the service. Fire authorities are made up of local elected councillors and are responsible for training and equipping the fire and rescue service to enable them to undertake their duties.

Central government maintains national standards and publishes a framework, which includes information about how the services should respond to emergency situations. The government also provides funding to the 46 fire authorities in England.

[edit] History

The fire service is believed to date as far back as AD43 but it wasn’t until after the great fire of London in 1666 that a more standardised urban fire fighting service emerged. A property developer, Nicholas Barbon, introduced insurance against fire, and whilst trying to reduce costs and claims he formed his own Fire Brigade. Following this, other insurance companies were set up and property was protected in this way until the early 1800s.

In 1824, the first municipal fire brigade was formed in Edinburgh. Generally, they were manned by part-time volunteers and the engines were hand-operated, manual pumps, pulled by horses. In the 1830s, the wheeled fire escape ladder was introduced and steam powered engines were first used in 1829.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the service was improved and formalised. After the second world war, the introduction of the Fire Services Act 1947 laid down national standards and the service was re-formed as a modern fire and rescue organisation. Since then, the service has developed with technical advances, new procedures and equipment.

[edit] Legislation

The main legislation that governs the fire and rescue service is the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and the Fire and Rescue Service (Emergencies)(England) Order 2007. They set out the mandatory functions that the service must provide in relation to fire and road traffic accidents, and other emergencies (chemical, radiological, biological, or nuclear and urban search and rescue).

The fire and rescue service are also considered ‘category 1 responders’ under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This gives further civil protection duties including:

  • Assessing the risk of emergencies occurring (ranging from widespread flooding to terrorist attacks) to help inform contingency planning.
  • Ensuring that emergency plans and business continuity management arrangements are in place.

Fire safety legislation is governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which replaces over 70 pieces of fire safety law. Its purpose is to help prevent fires outside the home and protect both the public and employees.

[edit] Fire futures reports

A series of independent reports have been produced which consider the challenges faced by the fire and rescue sector and how they should be delivered:

A government response was published in 2011.

[edit] Other UK fire and rescue services

In addition to the national fire and rescue service, there are also other private services in the UK including:

  • Ministry of Defence fire and rescue service.
  • Airport fire services.
  • Private and industrial fire and rescue services.
  • Ports and nuclear facilities private services.
  • Fire services protecting royal properties.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.

[edit] External references