Frequently Asked Questions

Also, hosted by Commissioner Zoe, Chief Fire Officer Jonathan Dyson answers questions which have been raised by members of the public during our consultation.

Hosted by Commissioner Zoe, Chief Fire Officer Jonathan Dyson answers questions which have been raised by members of the public during our consultation.

What is the purpose of the Risk and Resource Model 2022-25?

The Risk and Resource Model sets out the risk in our county and city and how we plan to use our resources to address and reduce that risk. It will ensure that our firefighters and staff are in the right place at the right time to deliver the right and most appropriate service, with the right equipment and skills in the best possible way.  

What is Fire and Rescue ‘Resource’

Our resources include our people (firefighters/staff), stations, fire engines and equipment.  

What is a Community Risk Profile and how is it relevant to the proposed changes?

We have developed a Community Risk Profile (CRP) providing a comprehensive and forward-looking assessment of the risks in our area, as well as an understanding of the communities we serve and the places where they live and work. 

The CRP has identified three main areas of risk in 

  • Accidental home fire risk and fatality/injury risk 
  • Road risk and fatality/serious injury risk 
  • Water risk – flooding, rescues and other water-related risk 

We have a good understanding of what, where and why these risks exist in our county and city and the factors that increase the likelihood of our services being needed. It allows us to understand how and where we can intervene early to reduce the need for our emergency response.  

What is a duty system?

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service uses a range of duty systems to crew fire engines: 

Full-time shift 

  • Firefighters work 2 days, 2 nights and have 4 days off. 
  • Dayshifts are 8am to 6pm, night shifts are 6pm to 8am. 
  • Firefighters work, in the main, from the station and are available for immediate response to emergencies 24 hours a day. 

Full-time day crewed 

  • Firefighters work 4 days on, 4 days off. 
  • Firefighters work from the station from 8am to 6pm where they are available for immediate ressponse.  
  • Between 6pm and 8am firefighters are available from home and will respond when their alerter goes off. 

On-call 

  • On-call firefighters are not based at the fire station (around 5 minutes from the station) but have other jobs and commitments, responding to emergencies only when their alerter goes off.  
  • Each firefighter submits their availability weekly to help ensure their On-call fire engine is available for use. 

Self-rostering 

  • Firefighters decide their shifts between themselves (within an agreed set of rules) to ensure that planned crewing levels and fire cover is maintained across a 24-hour period. 
  • This duty system is already in place at two full-time day crewed stations and our Control Room.

What is meant by On-call?

Unlike full-time firefighters, On-call firefighters are not based at the fire station but have other jobs and commitments, responding to emergencies only when their alerter goes off. On-call firefighters are paid for their time to train and to respond to an emergency but do not get paid for the hours they commit to being available.  

Whilst most of their work is responding to emergency calls, they also carry out other activities such as attending open days, carrying out work in their local communities, and acting as ambassadors for the Fire and Rescue Service. 

Over half (322) of all our firefighters are On-call. Across our 38 stations we have 31 fire engines crewed by On-call firefighters. 24 of our stations are On-call only. 

Because many people do not live and work in the same community anymore, many of our On-call stations struggle to have enough firefighters available to respond, especially during the day when demand is highest. This means we have to move fire engines and firefighters around to maintain cover and fire engines may be responding from further away than our public might expect because their local station is not available. 

Has North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service had a say in these proposals?

Yes – the proposals have been developed by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and recommended to the Commissioner by the Chief Fire Officer to take forward to consultation.  

Will money be saved if the proposed changes are implemented and what will happen to this money?

It is important to note that is not a cost-cutting exercise. We have a balanced budget and any savings from the proposals would be reinvested to help increase our prevention and protection work to stop emergencies from happening in the first place and into our On-call model to increase the availability of our On-call fire engines.   

Will firefighters lose their jobs/will there be redundancies?

No firefighters will be dismissed as a result of these proposals. We would reduce the organisational establishment in line with the retirement and leaver profile, supported by promotion opportunities and transfers into existing specialist roles and growth posts in prevention and protection.   

Will there be any fire station closures?

No, there will be no station closures. Based on an assessment of risk and demand in our Service area, our stations are in the right locations to cover the expanse of our area.  

Why is my local fire station changing its services?

If there are changes to your local fire station, we believe these would make better use of our resources (people, fire engines and equipment) to address and reduce risk.  

Where would the Tactical Response fire engines from Harrogate and Scarborough fire station go if this proposal was implemented?

The Tactical Response fire engines could be placed at our On-call fire stations where they could be primarily used as Light Rescue fire engines with a crew of four, and even when staffing levels are at three, they could still provide a response – albeit to a more limited range of incidents. Further work to identify actual locations would be considered when the outcomes of the consultation are known.  

Today, what are the majority of incidents fire and rescue personnel respond to?

We attend and deal with over 6,000 emergency incidents each year, including fires in buildings and in the open (i.e. on grassland); and complex rescue incidents involving road traffic collisions, hazardous materials, building collapses, and people trapped in water. 

Fires account for the lowest number of incidents attended which can be at odds with public perception of what we mainly respond to. We attend a higher proportion of non-fire incidents, such as road traffic collisions and water related incidents. 

Nearly half of the incidents we attend are false alarms, the majority of which are automatic fire alarms. Attending these incidents takes our crews away from delivering our full range of services.  

What is an automatic fire alarm?

The basic purpose of an automatic fire alarm is to provide early warning in the event of a fire. However, where they immediately send an automated signal to a monitoring centre, or staff dial 999 because an alarm is sounding (without investigating first), they can also be the cause of false alarms and fire service callouts known as UnWanted Fire Signals.  

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attends around 2,550 Automatic Fire Alarms every year, which accounts for 38% of all incidents. 9 in 10 prove to be false alarms when fire engines arrive.  

What is fire prevention and protection work?

Prevention: preventing emergencies from happening in the first place through education, advice and support. 

Protection: protecting our commercial and public buildings from the risk of fire and reducing the impact should they happen. 

Our full-time firefighters undertake general prevention and protection activity across our county. They are supported by specialist officers who provide guidance and expertise, and who also deal with our more complex cases. We currently have 16 specialist protection officers and 16 specialists in our prevention department, including 8 Community Safety Officers and 4 Public Safety Officers.  

What is the Public Safety Service in Craven and what do the Public Safety Officers do?

A new Public Safety Service was launched in Craven in 2019, bringing together a number of organisations, including North Yorkshire Police, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, to help prevent vulnerability and reduce harm, improving the safety and resilience of communities.  

There are now four Public Safety Officers (PSOs) based in four areas of Craven. They work to prevent vulnerability before it can cause harm, by promoting fire safety and health and wellbeing, and helping to solve local anti-social behaviour concerns.   

Are fire engines available 24 hours a day? What happens if there is a fire and my fire station is closed/not available?

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has a comprehensive fire cover model to ensure we maintain our operational response.  As a county-wide service we also acknowledge that for larger incidents, resources need to be drawn from a wider area and in doing so we move our fire engines and firefighters around to maintain the most effective response to emergencies across our Service area.  

Why is the geography of the Service area a challenge for our Fire and Rescue Service?

The size, geography and rurality of our Service area (North Yorkshire and the City of York) presents challenges around travel (distances, times, and the nature of the roads), and in ensuring we can provide equal access to our services across our area. 

Two-thirds of our fire stations are On-call stations where firefighters respond to an alerter from home or from their work. Because many people do not live and work in the same community anymore, many of our On-call stations struggle to have enough firefighters available to respond, especially during the day when demand is highest. This means we currently have to move fire engines and firefighters around to maintain cover and fire engines may be responding from further away than our public might expect because their local station is not available. Investment in our On-call model aims to improve this situation.  

I have a query about the proposals who do I contact?

Please contact the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner: 

By email: info@northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk 

By phone: 01423 569 562 

In writing: Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, 12 Granby Road, Harrogate, HG1 4ST 

 

Why are the proposed changes needed – is there a summary?