Public to have say on response times

Pictured is Deputy Chief Fire Officer of South Yorks Jamie Courtney
Pictured is Deputy Chief Fire Officer of South Yorks Jamie Courtney
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South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is planning a public consultation on response times after revealing it hadn’t met its own target set in 2006.

Fire deaths and injuries have fallen to record lows across South Yorkshire, even though the service has never met its self-set target of reaching 80 per cent of all life-risk incidents within six minutes.

The service now wants to ask the public what they think about three response time target options.

If the Fire Authority agrees to the proposals at its meeting on Monday, the consultation will run until 24th June, with a final decision will be taken later in the year.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said: “We always aim to get to every incident as quickly and as safely as possible and that will never change, but given the Government cuts to our budget and the possibility of further cuts, we are genuinely concerned about the impact on the frontline.”

“We want to have an honest and open debate with the people we serve about exactly what they expect from us in terms of a response time, and what we realistically can deliver with the resources available.”

People will be asked to chose one of three options during the consultation.

No response time standard means the fire service will get there as quickly as possible with the resources available.

Single county-wide standard would see the service keep a response time target for the whole of South Yorkshire.

The third option is risk based response standards, which would mean the service would have different response time targets for each area depending on the risk level.

“When it comes to our success at reducing deaths and injuries from fires, response times are clearly not the deciding factor,” added Mr Courtney.

“But we recognise that having a response time target helps to make us accountable to the public, and provides people reassurance about the service they receive.”