Fire service defends response times

SNAPSHOT figures which put Suffolk fire service's response times as the worst in England are “not typical”, council chiefs have claimed.

SNAPSHOT figures which put Suffolk fire service's response times as the worst in England are “not typical”, council chiefs have claimed.

For the period between July and September last year, a response time of 10.1 minutes was recorded for 322 “primary” fires over the period - the highest recorded time in England.

The information came in response to a parliamentary question on the number of fires involving the likes of property, cars and crops, and the speed of response.

But a county council spokesman said: "This average figure of a ten minute response to an emergency is based on the emergency call outs between July to September 2007 and is not typical for Suffolk.

“More representative of our response time to primary fires are our latest figures for the period January to March 2008, which show a response time of 9.1 minutes for 316 incidents.

“This is similar with response times for other fire and rescue services such as Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Gloucestershire which are in geography and make up to Suffolk."

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The longer response times recorded have been put down to a busy time of year, with fire engines having to travel further than they normally would.