Fire service starts consultation on changing its blanket 10 minute performance measure

A fire service covering towns close to the Shropshire border is looking to change the way it measures its response times.

Picture: Herefordshire & Worcestershire Fire & Rescue Service
Picture: Herefordshire & Worcestershire Fire & Rescue Service

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service says if it drops its blanket measure of taking 10 minutes to get to building fires it won't mean they will be slower to get to blazes.

But they say they want to give communities, including those in Tenbury Wells, Leominster, Leintwardine, and Bewdley a "clearer and more realistic picture of the response times they can expect for a wider range of incidents in relation to where they live."

Most people in the service are are within 10 minutes of a fire station, but others are 15, 20 or more travel time away.

Changes include measuring attendance performance for a broader range of incidents across three travel time zones: 10, 15 and 20 minutes from each fire station from the time the first appliance is mobilized, rather than the current blanket measure of 10 minutes.

The current 10 minute measure only covers fires in buildings and has been in place since 2009. The fire service says this does not account for things like traffic congestion and is not up to date.

A spokesman said: "An attendance performance measure is simply a measure of how long it takes a fire engine to reach an emergency incident, and it is used to help to assess performance and to look at where improvements might be made.

"It doesn’t change the emergency response at all, and the service will continue to respond to all incidents as quickly and safely as they can with the closest available and most appropriate resources."

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging everyone to have their say on a proposal to update the Attendance Performance Measure.

They are also looking at measuring attendance times from the time the fire station is alerted by fire control to the time the fire engine arrives at the incident. This takes the average of 90 seconds of ‘call handling time’ out of the calculation and is in line with current national guidance.

And it also plans to remove the current arbitrary target of attending primary fires with the first fire engine within 10 minutes on 75 per cent of occasions.

Instead they are planning to carry out a travel-time analysis of a much wider range of incidents that do not align with expected times in order to identify any areas for improvement, or to better understand the reasons why they did not get to an incident in the time we would reasonably expect.

Once the consultation is complete, the results and recommendations will be reported back to the Fire Authority with an aim to implement the new measure, if approved, in December 2022.

To gather views on the proposal, there is a consultation document, which is available on the Service website and there’s a short questionnaire, which can be completed online here

The consultation closes on September 16, 2022, and results will be reported to Fire Authority.

If you have any queries, please email or corporate communications manager Richard Prime on

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