Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Operational area
Facilities and equipment
Rescue boats1
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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is a statutory fire and rescue service covering the area of the ceremonial county of Berkshire in England.[1] The fire service was formerly administered by Berkshire County Council, but when that was abolished the service became the responsibility of the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, made up of representatives from the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest Borough Council, Reading Borough Council, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough Borough Council, West Berkshire Council, and Wokingham Borough Council.

RBFRS headquarters is located at Newsham Court, Pincents Kiln, in the Reading suburb of Calcot. It operates from 16 fire stations across Berkshire.[2]

Berkshire Fire and Rescue appliance


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 inspection investigates how well the service performs in each of three areas. On a scale of outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been rated as follows:

HMICFRS Inspection Royal Berkshire
Area Rating 2018/19[3] Rating 2021/22[4] Description
Effectiveness Good Good How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
Efficiency Good Good How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
People Good Good How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?

Fire stations and appliances

The service operates 16 fire stations – 12 of which are crewed by wholetime firefighters and four use retained firefighters.[2]

The community fire station at Theale, which opened in 2021, is also a base for South Central Ambulance Service and Thames Valley Police.[5] It replaced the former Dee Road (Reading) and Pangbourne fire stations.[5]

Wokingham Road fire station in Reading is also home to the Red Cross Fire Emergency Support Service, who have their own specialist vehicle at the station.[6] The Red Cross team are mobilised by RBFRS control staff to respond to people affected by incidents such as fire or flood.[7] Established in Berkshire in 1993,[7] they can provide food, clothing, and arrange emergency accommodation.[6]


1942 Austin ex National Fire Service B&RFB fire engine from Hungerford

Berkshire & Reading Fire Brigade was formed in 1948 after the Fire Services Act 1947 which led control back to brigades in 1948.[1]

Berkshire & Reading Fire Brigade stayed the same until 1974. This was when the queen, Queen Elizabeth II, announced Berkshire a royal county. This was due to the presence of Windsor Castle which caused the name and the logo of the brigade to change over to Royal Berkshire Fire Brigade.[1] 1 April 1974 saw the transfer of the northern parts of the county to Oxfordshire when the Local Government Act 1972 changes took effect. This resulted in the operational area of the service reducing together with the loss of staff, premises & equipment to the present Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue service.

Left a B&RFB Dispatch Riders helmet, Middle a RBFB Sub Officer 'Middlesex' Produced by Cromwell and Right is a RBFRS Pacific F7.

Royal Berkshire Fire Brigade operated under the name till 1985 when the logo and name was changed to Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, Which would feature a new logo still used in the present day.[1]

On the 20th of November, 1992. A work light set a curtain alight inside Windsor Castle. Workers on site tried to put it out before embers started to fall. RBFRS Control Rooms were alerted by Windsor Castle of the fire inside the building.[8] RBFRS Control immediately mobilised 5 pumping appliances and 2 senior officers. The first appliances at the fire arrived at 11:44 AM. About 12 minutes later, 17 pumping appliances were ordered. By 12:20 St George's Hall, a banqueting hall, had fire spreading through it. During the duration of the fire, around 36-39 Pumping units, 7 Specialist units, 225 Firefighters and 35 Officers were on the scene up until the fire's extinguishment.[9][10] With the combined workforces of 9 different Brigades and the Military, which was presumed to be a nearby Household Cavalry Barracks, helped bring out Books, Carpets and Artefacts along with many other things.[9] It was later found in an investigation from the Fire Research Station that the work light was too close to a curtain which caused the heat of the work light to ignite the Curtain.[8][10]

In 2011, Swinley Forest in Berkshire set alight. Causing the usage of 18 jets, 21 hose reels, 2 High Volume Pumps with 6.5 km water relays, seven Water Bowsers, 4 portable dams, an Urban Search and Rescue Module and a military fuel tanker and a dozen fire services responses. This was later found out to have damaged 300 hectares of land.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "RBFRS - About Us". Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Fire Stations". Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Royal Berkshire 2018/19". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). 20 June 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Royal Berkshire 2021/22". His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). 20 January 2023. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  5. ^ a b "New fire station in Berkshire opens as two others are closed". BBC News. 10 November 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Fire Stations Wokingham Road". Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  7. ^ a b Mayo, Nick (10 February 2014). "LIVE BLOG: Floods hit Berkshire and Buckinghamshire". Maidenhead Advertiser. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  8. ^ a b "The Windsor Castle Fire 1992 (Youtube)". John Linden. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Raw Footage: Windsor Castle Fire (1992)". ITN Archive. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  10. ^ a b "RBFRS - About Us - Windsor Castle 1992". Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  11. ^ "RBFRS - About Us - Swinley Forest 2011". Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 13 August 2023.