Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Operational area
CountryEngland
CountiesDevon
Unitary authorities
Agency overview
Established1 April 2007
Employees1,850
Chief Fire OfficerGavin Ellis
Facilities and equipment
Stations83[1]
Engines121[1]
Website
www.dsfire.gov.uk Edit this at Wikidata

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) is the statutory fire and rescue service covering the counties Devon and Somerset in South West England – an area of 3,924 square miles (10,160 km2).[1] It serves a population of 1.75 million,[1] and is the fifth largest fire and rescue service in the United Kingdom.[2]

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service was founded on 1 April 2007, following the merger of Devon Fire and Rescue Service with Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.[2] The Somerset service, previously known as Somerset Fire Brigade, was formed on 1 April 1948. Devon Fire Brigade was formed in 1973, by the amalgamation of Exeter City Fire Brigade, Plymouth City Brigade and Devon County Brigade. It became Devon Fire and Rescue Service in 1987.

The main headquarters is located at Clyst St George near Exeter. Its main training centre is the Service Training Centre (STC) at Plympton fire station. It employs approximately 1,850 staff, including 578 wholetime firefighters and 36 control room staff, 930 retained firefighters and 300 non-uniformed staff.

Each county operated its own control room until 2012, but they now have a single control room at the main headquarters.

Fire stations

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Clockwise from top left: Some of the service's fire stations in Plymouth, Torquay, Kingston, Glastonbury and Taunton

The fire service operates 83 fire stations and 121 fire engines, the second largest number of fire stations in the country.[1] The fire stations organised across six geographical groups – Barnstaple, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Torquay and Yeovil.[3] The fire stations are crewed on a mix of wholetime, wholetime and retained, and retained duty systems.[4]

Nineteen DSFRS fire stations are home to fire service co-responders. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service works in partnership with South Western Ambulance Service to provide emergency medical cover to areas of Devon and Somerset. These are areas that have been identified as having a greater need for ambulance cover. The aim of a co-responder team is to preserve life until the arrival of either a rapid response vehicle (RRV) or an ambulance. Co-responder vehicles are equipped with oxygen and automatic external defibrillation (AED) equipment.[5] Co-responder stations have a dedicated vehicle for co-responder calls. The vehicle, known as the emergency response unit (EMS), attends in place of the fire appliance (providing there are enough crew members still on duty), allowing the fire appliance to remain available.

Station grounds

HMNB Devonport

HMNB Devonport Dockyard, in Plymouth, is home to twenty one of the Royal Navy's fleet of ships and submarines. The dockyard falls into the station ground of Camels Head, and is backed up by Crownhill. Each part of the dockyard is divided into risk areas; this then reflects in the level of attendance by the Fire Service.

Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point is a headland on the coast of Somerset. It is the location of two nuclear power stations – Hinkley Point A, which closed in 2000, and Hinkley Point B, which ceased power generation in 2022. Hinkley Point has its own fire station, backed up by Nether Stowey and would then be backed up by Bridgwater. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is under construction.

Fire appliances

Devon and Somerset use a variety of front-line and special appliances. Operating from 83 fire stations, it has 121 fire engines and 64 special appliances, including aerial appliances, water/foam carriers, incident command units, 4x4s and environmental protection units.[6]

Water tender
Incident command vehicle
Aerial ladder platform at work
Incident response unit

British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service

The British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS) helps to meet the needs of individuals who have suffered damage to their homes following a domestic property fire, flood or similar emergency. Two units operating in Devon and Somerset based at the based Plymouth Red Cross Centre and Bridgwater Fire Station[7] are dedicated volunteers. Their role includes providing refreshments, clothing, toiletries, use of an onboard telephone, first aid, sign-posting to other organisations, support with the care of children and pets, assistance in securing temporary accommodation, transport to friends/family, and use of shower/washing and toilet facilities.

Operations

As part of the national FiReControl project, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue's control rooms were due to switch over to a regional control centre in Taunton. Both control rooms were planned to cutover in May 2011,[8] but the plan was formally scrapped in December 2010 by the Government.[9]

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, DSFRS firefighters were trained to drive ambulances for South Western Ambulance Service as a relief measure should any ambulance staff fall sick to COVID-19.[10] As of June 2020, they had attended 1,700 incidents.

Performance

Every fire and rescue service in England and Wales is periodically subjected to a statutory inspection by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). The inspections investigate how well the service performs in each of three areas. On a scale of outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate, Devon and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service was rated as follows:

HMICFRS Inspection Devon and Cornwall
Area Rating 2018/19[11] Rating 2021/22[12] Description
Effectiveness Good Good How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
Efficiency Requires Improvement Good How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
People Requires Improvement Requires Improvement How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?

Mutual assistance

The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 gives fire services the power to assist other fire services or fire authorities in what is known as mutual assistance.[13]

The fire services that adjoin the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are:

Children and young people

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has a number of schemes for young people.[14]

Fire Cadets is a programme open to young people between the ages of 12 and 16. Every week up to 14 Cadets attend their local fire station for two hours to take part in firefighter activities such as hose running, ladder climbs (SHACS), and search and rescue. The programme is currently only running from limited stations within Devon and Somerset. These are Exmouth, Frome, Ilfracombe, Plymouth, Tiverton and Wincanton.

Firebreak is a personal development scheme for Key Stage 4 pupils (ages 14–16). It provides a novel fire and rescue service themed educational diet designed to complement and enhance the school curriculum.

The Firesetter Intervention programme is designed to address firesetting behaviour amongst children and young people up to the age of 19.

Phoenix is a six-month programme, primarily designed to reduce fire risk and fire related crime within local communities by working with 'at-risk' young people between the ages of 15 and 18.

See also

Other local emergency services

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service". HMICFRS. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Brigade 'based on local response'". BBC News. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Your Area". Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Fire Stations" (PDF). Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  5. ^ SWAST Fire Co Responders Archived 2008-01-15 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Red Cross unveil new emergency van". Bridgwater Mercury. 17 January 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Whatisfirecontrol". Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Control room scrapping 'will help Devon and Somerset". BBC News. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Retrained firefighters attend 1,700 call-outs". BBC News. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Devon and Cornwall 2018/19". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). 17 December 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Devon and Cornwall 2021/22". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). 27 July 2022. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Legislation.gov.uk". www.opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service - Young People". www.dsfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2018.