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Fire Cover Review Update

About us

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service serves the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York.  We have 38 fire stations with 46 standard fire engines and 24 special and supporting vehicles.

The Service currently has four different systems for crewing fire engines. The urban areas of Harrogate, Scarborough and York are mainly served by firefighters who work shifts at the fire station; our larger market towns have firefighters who work a combination of day shifts and on-call from home; and our rural villages and smaller towns are served by on-call staff.

There are:

  •  Five wholetime shift stations
    Crewed by wholetime firefighters who work shifts to ensure that the fire engine(s) based there are crewed 24 hours a day.
  •  Seven wholetime day crewed stations
    Crewed by wholetime firefighters between 0800 and 1800 each day. Outside of these hours those firefighters are on-call.
  •  24 retained stations
    Crewed by part time (retained) firefighters who provide on-call cover from home or their place of work. They respond to emergencies when their pager alerts them, so must work or live within approximately four minutes travel time from the station.
  •  Two volunteer stations
    Crewed by volunteers who supplement the arrangements detailed above.

 Several of the shift and day crewed also have fire engines crewed by retained staff.

 Fire Cover

 ‘Fire cover’ is the term used by the Service to refer to;

  • The number of fire engines, other specialist fire vehicles and equipment, available within the Service to respond to fires and other emergencies.
  • Where fire stations are located.
  • How quickly fire engines can respond to an emergency call (i.e. how they are staffed).

The last full review of fire cover was undertaken in the 1990s.  Since then the number of incidents that we respond to has fallen, and the types of incidents we attend have changed. For example we now go to more incidents caused by extreme weather, such as widespread flooding, which can last days or even weeks.

There have also been changes to the population and risks within North Yorkshire and the City of York, in this time.

Over this time, specific fire station reviews have been done, which have led to changes. The impact of these on the whole Service was considered and took public views into account.

We are now carrying out a review of fire cover to:

  • Ensure the Service balances cost and resources to risk and to ensure, as far as possible, that the provision of resources relative to risk is similar across the whole county and the City of York.
  • Ensure the Service can provide a response to incidents that is appropriate for increasingly frequent large weather related events (e.g. flooding).
  • Ensure the Service has a model of fire cover that is capable of delivering savings, according to the financial constraints (over the life of the review).
  • Take into account the impact of a reduction in incidents over the last 10 years.


Last year we carried out engagement with our staff and our communities around this review of fire cover. That engagement phase closed in April 2014.

Since the engagement phase ended, work has been undertaken to analyse the incidents that have occurred over the last five years.  As part of the analysis we looked at the types of incidents that we attended over the previous five years, along with when and where they occurred.  We also analysed larger incidents individually to understand how they developed over time and the number of resources required to deal with them. 

From the analysis we have developed seven proposals. They have been developed to take into account the following factors:

  • The overall low level of risk and incidents throughout North Yorkshire and the City of York
  • The need for the Service to have resources best matched to risk in an area
  • The need to resource large incidents occasionally
  • The provision of specialist equipment and other essential work
  • The overall resilience and availability of resources

These proposals do not, at this stage, include changes at particular fire stations, but are around general themes for consideration.

 The proposals are: 

  1. Introduce a revised response model.
  2. Introduce 12 hour shifts.
  3. Introduce mixed crewing.
  4. Introduce tactical response vehicles (TRVs).
  5. Extend the use of volunteers.
  6. Introduce extended turn in times for retained staff (in specific circumstances).
  7. Introduce district Watch Managers (on-call).

Further information about each of these proposals is available here.

Next Steps

As these proposals mainly relate to internal arrangements, we will be consulting with our staff on them, between (12th) January and (17th) April 2015.

Following this consultation period (with staff) work will be undertaken to develop location specific proposals. Subject to approval from the Fire Authority in June 2015, these proposals will be widely consulted upon from summer 2015.

The final decisions will be taken by the Fire Authority in December 2015.

Feedback on these Proposals

Although we are not carrying out formal consultation with the public at this stage, we would be interested in hearing any feedback you may have about these proposals.

If you have any comments please email them to






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