Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

January 20, 2011 12:41 ET

Surrey County Council Propose One of The Slowest Emergency Response Times Standards in The UK

SURREY, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Jan. 20, 2011) - The Fire Brigades Union is urging Surrey County Council to stop misleading the public and set a response standard that really protects the public.

Surrey County Council has released summary documentation to the public, which states: "We aim to have one fire engine at these critical incidents within 10 minutes and a second one within 15 minutes on 80% of occasions."

But it makes no mention of when that time is measured from. Nationally emergency response times are measured from the time a call for assistance from a member of the public is received, to when a fire engine has arrived at the incident.

Surrey's proposed standard does not start the clock until the fire engine has been mobilised. This makes a considerable difference.

The average time taken from Time of Call to an appliance booking mobile is;
Wholetime fire engine 3 minutes and 17 seconds
Retained duty fire engine 6 minutes and 25 seconds
(Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Performance Data Report, November 2009)

Surrey County Council are proposing that the first fire engine should be in attendance within 10 minutes to comply with the standard, but in reality the real time could be as much as 16 minutes and 25 seconds and still comply. This is over double the current standards response time.

Richard Jones, FBU brigade secretary for Surrey said: "We have challenged this misleading emergency Response Standard but there are no plans to come clean and include the call handling and mobilising time in the standard. Since we have already brought this to the attention of the council and they have not made any changes to the proposed standard or clarified the detail with the public we conclude that the standard is designed to be deliberately misleading.

"A Response Standard should measure the time taken to respond with a fire engine to a call from the public and not from when the fire engine leaves the fire station; if that measurement of time had a name it would be a Drive Time Standard.

"We urge Surrey County Council to stop misleading the public who cannot see the vitally important difference highlighted above from the documentation available in the public domain."

Contact Information

  • Richard Jones
    07769 249097