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RBFRS Launches Second Public Consultation

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is asking people to help shape the future of their fire and rescue service by taking part in a second public consultation.

The consultation is being launched today (Monday 16 May) and will run for 10 weeks, ending on Monday, 25 July. During the consultation, RBFRS is seeking people’s views on the following four proposals to change the way our response standards are defined and measured: 

1) How should we measure the time taken to respond to an incident? RBFRS currently uses an attendance time, which measures how long it takes a fire engine to get to an emergency, from the time the fire crew is mobilised by a Control operator to the time the fire engine arrives on the scene.

The new proposal is to measure response times, which would be measured from the time the call is received by the Control operator to the time the fire engine arrives on the scene. This will align with the Department of Communities and Local Government’s definition of a response time and make it clearer and easier for people to understand.

2) What type of incidents should we report on? 

RBFRS currently measures attendances to domestic house fires and road traffic collisions. 

The new proposal is to include all emergency incidents, including commercial building fires, water rescues, animal rescues and outdoor fires, to give a more accurate reflection of what RBFRS does.

3) How many fire engines should be measured in the response standard? 

RBFRS currently has the following response standards:

Dwelling fires

  • Standard response is for the first fire engine to arrive in 10 minutes and the second in 12 minutes
  • Optimum response is for the first fire engine to arrive in eight minutes and the second in 10 minutes 

Road traffic collisions (RTCs)

  • We are committed to making an initial attendance to RTCs where people are trapped within 11 minutes

The new proposal is for to measure the attendance time of the first fire engine to arrive at an incident, as a single fire engine response standard will be easier to understand. RBFRS will still send more than one fire engine as the nature of the incident requires and will measure the attendance of the second and any additional fire engines internally.

4) How should we express the reporting of our response standards? RBFRS’ internal performance monitoring systems currently measure the attendance times of fire engines for each fire station. This tells us when we have not met our expected attendance times.

The new proposal is to publish the response standard as a target percentage, as this would create a more transparent and measurable standard for the public. This would be expressed as ‘We will target our operational response activities to arrive at incidents within ‘X’ minutes on ‘Y’ % of occasions’.

Group Manager Jim Powell, who manages RBFRS’ consultation process, said: “This is the second of a number of public consultations we will be running this year. During the first consultation, we asked people to share their views on four priority projects we had identified. We had a fantastic response to this consultation and, after considering the findings, Royal Berkshire Fire Authority reached a decision to progress the projects at a meeting on 25 April.

“The first key element of this work is to ensure that our response standards are fit for purpose and are clear and easy to understand as we move towards developing these four projects. We are very keen for people to let us know what they think about our proposals and hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to help shape the future of their fire and rescue service.

“The feedback we receive will inform further consultations later in the year where we will be seeking people’s views on how we deliver our services, while at the same time providing value for money and aligning with projected budgets.”

The consultation process runs from Monday, 16 May – Monday, 25 July 2016 and you can take part in any of the following ways:

  • Via our website
  • Emailing: 
  • Telephoning 0118 938 4331 (automated line)
  • Writing to us at RBFRS, Newsham Court, Pincents Kiln, Calcot, Reading RG31 7SD

The consultation document is available on RBFRS’ website at If you would like a hard copy or require assistance with accessing the information in an alternative format or language, please contact us using any of the methods above.