The latest figures from the Home Office have revealed that it took the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service on average nine minutes to respond to a primary fire between April 2016 and March 2017.
This is the longest response time since records began in 1994/95.
“Primary” fires are the more serious alerts : fires in cars and buildings that are not derelict, and any fires involving a casualty or rescue.
This news of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service comes as fire services across the country are dealing with significant cuts to their workforce due to the austerity measures from central government. The number of firefighters in Hertfordshire has been reduced over the past seven years from 813 in 2010 to 671 in 2017 – a reduction of 142 (17 per cent of the workforce).
One of Waford’s County Councillors Cllr Tim Williams, a representative for Woodside/Stanborough, and a member of the Community Safety and Waste Management Cabinet Panel commented: “The response time to tackling primary fires is critical and it’s not acceptable for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue to record that response times are now the longest on record.
There needs to be a plan from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue service to address these response times as our residents deserve no less. The austerity measures from central Government are not helping resulting in loss of staff and fire stations”.