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Suffolk fire response times nearly three minutes slower than average

PUBLISHED: 05:30 26 September 2018

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service repsonse times are nearly three minutes slower than national averages Picture: SIMON PARKER

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service repsonse times are nearly three minutes slower than national averages Picture: SIMON PARKER

Fire response times in Suffolk are nearly three minutes more than national averages – and nearly two minutes behind other rural areas, according to new figures.

Mark Hardingham from Suffolk Fire and Rescue said the service was continuing to monitor response times Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMark Hardingham from Suffolk Fire and Rescue said the service was continuing to monitor response times Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Data published for Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny this week revealed that Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s average response time for a primary fire is 11m 24s, while the national average for the whole of England is 8m 42s – 2m 42s quicker.

In other predominantly rural areas like Suffolk, the average response time is 9m 48s.

Chief fire officer Mark Hardingham said: “The quicker that firefighters can attend 999 incidents the better, and in Suffolk the average response times range from about seven to 12 minutes depending on if you are in a more urban or rural part of the county.

“Managers are constantly looking at ways to maintain and improve our speed of response.

“The time taken to attend incidents is influenced by many factors including, the proximity of the emergency to the fire station, time of day, traffic conditions and the way the local fire station is crewed with either full time or on-call firefighters.

“We regularly benchmark our performance with other fire services across the country.”

The fire service said that the prolonged heatwave over the summer meant the number of incidents were up, which is also understood to have had an effect on the response times.

Figures for the last two years showed Suffolk had been gradually reducing its response time, down from 11m 18s in 2016/17 to 10m 54s in 2017/18, before the latest data confirmed the slower response.

Nearly three quarters of all property fires were attended to within 11m, and four out of five road traffic collisions called to resulted in crews on scene within the 13 minute target time.

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