Top three rating for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Shropshire fire service is the third best in the UK, it has been revealed under a new Government ranking system.

It stands out as an elite brigade among the country's total of 47 fire services - despite being one of the smallest.

The latest accolade follows on from praise by Government watchdogs in February giving it top marks for its effectiveness and efficiency.

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor said that "once again" the Audit Commission had given Shropshire a top ranking.

"We are extremely proud that our staff have been recognised for delivering a first class service to the people of Shropshire. To come in the top three in Britain is an outstanding achievement."

But he vowed that there was still "much work" for them to do in community safety education to continue to make the county a "safer and better place."

Shropshire had performed so well because of its dedicated and professional staff, support from its partners, and "most importantly" the people of Shropshire who had listened to fire safety messages to make homes and businesses safer, said Nigel Hartin, Chair of the Fire Authority.

"It is also excellent to read that although some smaller services are struggling with capacity, the Audit Commission in their report see that we have managed capacity constraints well and can demonstrate high levels of performance."

In the report Government inspectors said Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service continues to improve and use its resources well. Top marks were given for a range of performances including reducing fire deaths and injuries and the effectiveness of its fire safety.

It was "performing well" in making progress throughout the past year including delivering its priority service and strengthening its retained service which had reduced risks in rural areas, said the report.

Finance and "value for money" were also assessed with Shropshire well positioned to make even further improvements with strengthened corporate and financial planning and improved financial capacity, stated the report.

12th April, 2007