West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Last updated

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service logo.svg
Operational area
Country England
County West Yorkshire
Agency overview
Established1974 (1974)
Employees961 (2016 frontline staff) [1]
Facilities and equipment
Stations 40
Engines 47
Website
www.westyorksfire.gov.uk OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is the county-wide, statutory emergency fire and rescue service for the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England. It is administered by a joint authority of 22 people who are appointed annually from the five metropolitan boroughs of West Yorkshire, known as the Fire and Rescue Authority.

Contents

West Yorkshire covers an area of approximately 800 square miles (2,100 km2) which includes remote moorland, rural villages, large towns, cities, busy motorways and 'A' roads, as well as Leeds Bradford International Airport. [2] The fire and rescue service's headquarters are located in Birkenshaw, Bradford. [3] There is also a large training centre at Birkenshaw used by other authorities besides West Yorkshire.

In 2006, the service was listed as being the fourth largest in England (behind London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester fire services) with 1,600 wholetime firefighters and 199 retained. [4] It has 47 pumping appliances based at 40 stations, sub-divided into five districts: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. [5] [6]

History

The brigade was formed in 1974 when the unitary county of West Yorkshire was created and was an amalgamation of smaller brigades across the county. [7] These included the West Riding County Fire Service, Bradford City Fire Brigade, Dewsbury County Borough Fire Brigade, Halifax County Borough Fire Brigade, Huddersfield County Borough Fire, Leeds City Fire Brigade and Wakefield City Fire Brigade. [7] At its inception, the WYFRS operated fifty-two stations across the five districts. [8] Today the fire service operates out of 40 fire stations

The service's headquarters is at Oakroyd Hall in Birkenshaw; the hall is a grade II listed building that has housed the headquarters since 1964, when it was the headquarters for the West Riding Fire Service (WRFS). [9] [10] Previous to that, the WRFS headquarters was at Huddersfield, [11] though its training centre had moved to Birkenshaw in 1961. [12]

After a number of firefighter deaths at notable fires in the 1990s (Gillender street in Bow, East London [1991] and the Sun Valley poultry factory fire in Hereford [1993]), coupled with the publishing of the Fennell Report into the King's Cross fire of 1987, WYFRS developed an incident command policy that encompassed an at-incident dynamic risk assessment and an organisational structure assessment for major fires. This policy was driven forward by central government and after some refinement was adopted in 1999. [13]

In April 2014, the service's emergency call response centre was moved from the Birkenshaw site to a location in Leeds, which also subsequently became the call centre for the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (SYFRS), in the event of a control room failure at SYFRS control in Sheffield. [14]

Performance

In 2018/2019, every fire and rescue service in England and Wales was subjected to a statutory inspection by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HIMCFRS). The inspection investigated how well the service performs in each of three areas. On a scale of outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was rated as follows: [15]

HMICFRS Inspection West Yorkshire 2018/19
AreaRatingDescription
EffectivenessGoodHow effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
EfficiencyGoodHow efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
PeopleGoodHow well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?

Fire stations

Rover 200 being used for Fire training at Wetherby Fire Station in 2015. Rover 200 being used for training, Wetherby Fire Station (4th August 2015).JPG
Rover 200 being used for Fire training at Wetherby Fire Station in 2015.
Kirkstall Road fire station Fire Station, Kirkstall Road, Leeds - geograph.org.uk - 104658.jpg
Kirkstall Road fire station
Wetherby fire station Wetherby fire station 001.jpg
Wetherby fire station
Halifax fire station Halifax fire station - geograph.org.uk - 188151.jpg
Halifax fire station
Otley fire station Otley fire station - geograph.org.uk - 188176.jpg
Otley fire station

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service operates a headquarters and training centre at Birkenshaw, [16] plus 40 fire stations grouped into five districts: [17]

The number of fire stations has changed in recent years as stations are closed, merged, or new ones opened.

Stanningley fire station was opened in February 2003 to replace the two closed stations at Bramley and Pudsey. [18]

Pontefract fire station opened in 2012 to replace the older Pontefract station with Knottingley fire station closing completely. [19]

South Kirkby fire station replaced South Elmsall fire station (wholetime) and Hemsworth fire station (retained) in 2015. [20] [21]

Shipley fire station moved to a new site in May 2017 on Valley Road, closer to Bradford. The new station replaced the old Shipley fire station (located in Saltaire) and Idle fire station, which closed completely. [22]

WYFRS planned to merge Moortown and Cookridge fire stations on one site. Outline permission to redevelop the site for housing was approved in June 2017. [23] [24]

Keighley fire station is due to be demolished and a completely new structure will be built on the site. £2.2 million was set aside for the project in 2019, however, the Covid pandemic halted works on the site. [25]

Duty crewing systems

The Wholetime Duty System (WDS) is when a fire station is staffed 24/7, and involves four watches of firefighters who work two day shifts from 08:00 to 19:00, two night shifts from 19:00 to 08:00, and then take the following four complete days off.

The Day Crewing System (DCS) is where firefighters respond from the fire station during the day from 08:00 to 17:00, and become on-call retained firefighters outside of these hours. Stations operate on either a four days on/then four days off, or a two days on/two days off/three days on basis.

The Day-Crewed Close-Call System (DC/CCS) is where firefighters respond from the station on a two days on/two days off/three days on basis between the hours of 08:00 and 17:00, and then respond from on-site accommodation out of hours. The close call system is where the firefighters work a set number of hours annually, so the shift patterns are managed locally. Ranks of station manager and above can work a Flexible Duty System, with the remainder of the staff being on a retained basis. [26]

The Retained Duty System (RDS) is where all firefighters respond from home or from their usual jobs on a retained "on-call" basis, and are therefore required to live within five minutes of the fire station, or work within five minutes of the fire station if they are able and willing to respond from work Firefighters are alerted by electronic pager.

Station closures

In recent years the service has sought to rationalise its stations. In 2013, Marsden fire station was closed, while in 2015 Gipton and Stanks fire stations in East Leeds were replaced with a single fire station between the two sites at Killingbeck. [27] Of the eight firefighters based at Marsden, three left the service, whilst five transferred to the retained station at Slaithwaite. The fire appliance from Marsden was moved as a cover fire engine at Huddersfield. [28] Haworth fire station, which was staffed by retained firefighters, was closed permanently in 2014. [29]

In the same year, Batley and Dewsbury's fire stations were merged into a single site in Dewsbury and Brighouse and Elland fire stations were also amalgamated into one fire station in Rastrick that is nearer to the M62 motorway. [30] the stations at Otley and Rawdon were due to be closed and replaced with a combined site located in the Menston area, but these plans were abandoned after a suitable site could not be found. [31] [32]

Notable incidents

See also

Related Research Articles

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West Yorkshire is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in England. It is an inland and, in relative terms, upland county having eastward-draining valleys while taking in the moors of the Pennines. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972 and has a population of 2.3 million. Its largest settlements are Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Halifax, Keighley and Dewsbury.

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Kirklees is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, governed by Kirklees Council with the status of a metropolitan borough. The largest town and administrative centre of Kirklees is Huddersfield, and the district also includes Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Kirkburton, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield and Slaithwaite. Kirklees had a population of 422,500 in 2011; it is also the third largest metropolitan district in England by area size, behind Doncaster and Leeds.

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Sources