County Fire Service is One of the Best

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of the best performing fire services in England, a report out today reveals.

It has received top marks in planning for and delivering emergency responses throughout Shropshire, says the Audit Commission.

Despite being one of the smallest fire services in the country it has outshone most of its larger counterparts by being recognised as one of the top 13 performers out of 47 fire and rescue services in the country. It was commended for delivering an "effective and efficient" service.

Councillor Nigel Hartin, Fire Authority chair, today praised staff who had worked hard to create one of the best fire service's in the UK which had now gained national recognition for the first time.

He also thanked the people of Shropshire for playing their part in the success by responding to fire service advice to fit smoke alarms and prevent fires in the home and at work.

"By their actions we have ensured that our fire death and injury figures are now among the best in the country.

"We are recognised as being one of the top performers in the country and we will continue to deliver this first class service to the people of Shropshire."

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor said he was "delighted" that the professional way in which the high quality service was being delivered had been officially recognised by the Government auditors.

"We will continue to improve the effective and efficient service that we provide along with our partners and communities to prevent fires and ensure we respond professionally when we are called."

A rigorous fire prevention campaign to fit smoke alarms free into people's homes coupled with firefighters carrying out home fire risk assessments has seen house and workplace fires plummet throughout the county.

A campaign to see every household in the county with a smoke alarm has seen 20,000 fitted last year alone with thousands installed since the campaign began in 1998.

Over the past five years, fire prevention campaigns have seen hoax calls drop by 76 per cent, arsons fall by 44 per cent and injuries down 58 per cent with the number of fires consistently falling each year.

Householders who want a free home fire safety check and a ten year smoke alarm should call the fire service's hotline on 01743 260 298.

22nd February, 2007