Jo Coles - York and North Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing, Fire and Crime

Jo Coles - North Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing, Fire and Crime

Risk Profile 2022 – 2025

The services we provide to the public need to address and reduce the current and future risks in our area.

We have developed a Community Risk Profile (CRP) providing a comprehensive and forward-looking assessment of the risks in our area balanced with 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 North Yorkshire and York:

  • accidental home fire risk and fatality/injury risk
  • road risk and fatality/serious injury risk
  • water risk – flooding, rescues and other water-related risk

Other risk categories exist and further information can be found on these in our Community Risk Profile –

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.

Our Service area and model

The size, geography and rurality of our area present challenges around travel (distances, times, and the nature of the roads), and for ensuring we can provide equal access to our services across our area.

We have an ageing population who are less at risk of having a fire at home, but more at risk of severe consequences should one happen, and who are also vulnerable to a wider range of emergency incidents. The high number of visitors and students means that our population and risk profiles fluctuate throughout the year.

Two-thirds of our fire stations are On-call stations where firefighters respond to a pager 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 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.

Incidents we respond to

We attend and deal with over 6,000 emergency incidents each year, including: fires in buildings and in the open, complex rescue incidents involving road traffic collisions, hazardous materials, building collapses and rescuing people trapped in water.

Fires account for the lowest number of incidents attended which is 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.

There is a range of risk within each station area, so our staff need to be multi-skilled and flexible to deal with a very broad range of incidents. We need to increase our focus on prevention to address and reduce risk and the need for an emergency response.

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.
Many of our fire engines attend a relatively low number of incidents but our fire station locations need to stay as they are to cover the expanse of our area.

Accidental fires at home


Factors that increase the likelihood of having a fire in the home or of having a severe outcome from a fire are being over 65 and living alone, frailty, living in socially rented accommodation and deprivation.

We have scored and mapped these risk factors to show the level of risk in different areas.

This map shows that home fire risk in our county is generally low or very low with small pockets of risk in our more urban areas and to the south-east of the area.

For more information on home fire risk, see our Community Risk Profile, pages 18-19.


Road risk in our Service area is greater than our incident data indicates as our attendance is not requested to all road traffic collisions.

Rescues from road traffic collisions are increasingly complex because of new vehicle technology.

Around 6 in 10 collisions which result in people being killed or seriously injured happen on our more rural roads – mainly on roads with a 60mph speed limit. Many of these roads are in our On-call station areas which are not always available to respond, particularly during the day.

We recognise that road risk is a significant area where we need to focus our prevention activity.

For more information on road risk, see our Community Risk Profile, pages 20-23.


Flooding incidents and water rescues are an increasing area of demand for our Service. Water rescue incidents can be complex and present significant risk to our firefighters and other rescuers, for which we must plan and train, and equip accordingly.

Other risks

Environmental factors and the impact of climate change will continue to be a major influence to changes in the risk. Although the incidence of events such as wildfires and flooding are relatively low in comparison to other incident types, when they do happen, they can be protracted and over a wide scale. We need to ensure that we can continue to provide our assistance when these types of incident happen.

Innovation is introducing new firefighting techniques and rescue equipment. We need to keep up with the pace of technological advancement to ensure that we are best placed to deliver our range of services in the modern world.

Heritage buildings present a special risk in our area, but the risk is very well managed and we have plans in place as to how we respond.

For more information on other risks, see our Community Risk Profile, pages 28-31.

Some of these incidents are preventable, as they are often linked to human behaviour such as driving through flood water. We need to increase our emphasis on helping communities build resilience.

For more information on water risk, see our Community Risk Profile, pages 24-27.