Why We Are Here
The dedication and commitment of our staff has saved many lives within West Yorkshire.
We work with our communities to prevent fires and other emergencies. We continue to improve community safety and wellbeing, reducing the risk to life, property and the environment.All Fire & Rescue Services have duties and responsibilities that are set out in several legal documents.
Strategic Priorities (Our CRMP sets out our priorities for the period 2022-2025):
Improve the safety and effectiveness of our firefighters.
Promote the health, safety, and wellbeing of all our people.
Encourage a learning environment in which we support, develop, and enable all our people to be at their best.
Focus our prevention and protection activities on reducing risk and vulnerability.
Provide ethical governance and value for money.
Collaborate with partners to improve all of our services.
Work in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Achieve a more inclusive workforce, which reflects the diverse communities we serve.
Continuously improve using digital and data platforms to innovate and work smarter.
Plan and deploy our resources based on risk.
Areas of Focus:
Our ‘Areas of Focus’ are reviewed annually.
Over the next 12 months we will focus our attention on a number of key areas, which will influence our programme of change and support continuous improvement:
"Our priority is to keep you safe from fire and other emergencies."
- invest in our estate in Birkenshaw to provide a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, headquarters, training centre and new fire station.
- prepare and respond effectively to incidents caused by extreme weather.
- implement learning from the Grenfell Inquiry to improve how we respond to high-rise emergencies.
- use Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection and assessment programme as a foundation to implement our improvement action plans to deliver an outstanding service.
- implement the new, approved Fire Standards to ensure the Service is demonstrating its commitment to continuous improvement.
- embed and share the learning from the Coronavirus pandemic internally and with our partners.
- engage with the community to inform our firefighter recruitment campaign to improve the diversity of our workforce.
- maximise the health, safety and wellbeing of all our staff by investing in innovative fire station and fire engine design.
- continue to engage with owners of high-rise residential buildings to ensure they are aware of the duties placed on them through new regulations which aim to make buildings safer for residents.
We provide emergency cover 24/7 throughout the county of West Yorkshire.
To keep our communities safe, we deliver the following services:
- Prevention Raising awareness about the risks people face to prevent emergencies and reduce vulnerability.
- Protection Promoting and enforcing the fire safety measures required by law to ensure buildings and occupants are protected.
- Response Preparing for and responding to emergencies.
- Resilience Being able to deal with major emergencies and disruptions locally and nationally, while continuing to deliver our day to day services
We deliver these services through five District Teams and these teams each develop a local action plan.
Our call operators within Fire Control, deal with 999 calls and provide 24/7 cover to coordinate our response to all types of emergency.
Our Service Support staff provide essential services across several functions and are fundamental to our operations.
We employ approximately 1,400 staff who all play their part in promoting safety and wellbeing across all the communities in West Yorkshire.
We recognise the importance that our workforce plays in achieving our ambition. We continue to be one of the country’s leading Fire & Rescue Services, supporting and developing our workforce and investing in their future.
Our People Strategy provides a strategic framework to support the ambition and strategic priorities of the service by ensuring we have the right people with the relevant skills, in the right place at the right time.
You can download a copy of our latest People Strategy below.
"We recognise the importance that our workforce plays in achieving our ambition.
We endeavour to provide our firefighters with the best equipment, training and relevant operational guidance to enable them to stay safe when responding to emergencies.
Our fire appliances and personal protection equipment is designed to reduce the exposure of hazards and contamination to our firefighters.
We continue to invest in new fire stations and modern training facilities that are fit for purpose and reflect the requirements of our communities and diverse workforce. Over the years we have seen the number of emergency incidents reduce. As a result, there is less opportunity for our firefighters to gain real incident experience, however the risk of these emergencies remains.
To overcome this, we apply a risk-based training strategy that is delivered through District Teams. We also continue to invest in our central training programme to make sure firefighter skills remain at the highest level.
- Firefighters train and exercise in the environments in which they are most likely to attend emergencies.
- Firefighters spend time visiting a variety of premises to gather information on risk. This can enhance their effectiveness when responding to incidents.
"Emergency incidents are hazardous environments therefore firefighter safety is at the forefront of all that we do."
Our health & wellbeing, leadership & development and diversity & inclusion strategies support all our staff to reach their full potential.
"Living it, loving it, doing it, not just talking about it."
‘Our Values’ complement the new National Fire Chiefs Council Core Code of Ethics.
We will ensure this new code is at the heart of everything we do.
- Putting our Communities First - We put the interests of the public, the community and service users first.
- Integrity - We behave with integrity including being open, honest and consistent in everything that we do.
- Dignity and Respect - We treat people with dignity and respect, making decisions objectively, based on evidence, without discrimination or bias.
- Leadership - We are all positive role models, always demonstrating flexible and resilient leadership.We are all accountable for everything we do and challenge all behaviour that falls short of the highest standards.
- Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion - We continually recognise and promote the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, both within the Fire Service and the wider communities in which we serve. We stand against all forms of discrimination, create equal opportunities, promote equality, foster good relations and celebrate differences.
Our diverse communities and ever-changing environment create a unique mixture of risks. We have large cities and towns including some of the most deprived in the country. Our industrial heritage has seen large mills put to different uses or left unoccupied.
We have many miles of waterways set in steep valleys that flood regularly and rapidly. We have remote communities, large areas of moorland, motorways, major railways, an international airport, large industrial sites, commercial centres, farming, major sporting and cultural events and much more.As well as the local risks, our firefighters and resources form part of the national response to major emergencies.
"Our diverse communities and ever-changing environment create a unique mixture of risks."
Understanding risk in our communities is crucial to achieving our ambition of Making West Yorkshire Safer. We do this by using evidence, foresight and our professional experience to identify the risks that we face as a service.
We assess how likely each risk is to threaten life, property and the environment. We model the level of risk in small geographical areas to create ‘risk profiles’. Using this information, we know where to base our people and resources and where to focus our prevention and protection activities.
We have created a database to categorise buildings in West Yorkshire. This allows us to plan for more frequent risk visits to the highest risk buildings while reducing unnecessary visits to the lowest risk buildings. This allows us to be more efficient in the service we provide to businesses across the county.
We have assessed every high-rise building in West Yorkshire, liaising with building owners to understand and identify any fire safety deficiencies including those which incorporate external walls.
We work closely with government and the National Fire Chiefs Council to ensure we are prepared to respond to any national work programmes in the future.
We work continually on assessing risk within the built environment to:
- Streamline and update our database on the changing levels of property-related risk.
- Develop the building risk review process to include new and medium-rise buildings.
Risk information is available on all frontline fire engines allowing our operational firefighters to access the most up-to date risk information on-route to incidents or when required.
We must assess all foreseeable Fire & Rescue-related risks that could affect our communities. These may be local, cross-border, multi-authority and/or national.
To manage foreseeable risk, WYFRS updates and maintains a Foreseeable Risk Register.
This register is used to assess the emergencies that we need to respond to, and to ensure we are suitably trained, equipped and prepared.
- Our risk assessment complements the National Risk Assessment, National Risk Register, and the West Yorkshire Community Risk Register.
- Threats and risks to our own business continuity are captured within our Corporate Risk Register.
- We will continue to learn lessons from significant operational incidents including local, regional or national.
In 2021 we achieved our planned response times 95.4% of the time; this is an improvement from 94.4% in 2018/19, the year that the Integrated Risk Management Model was developed by WYFRS.
Usually when we arrive at incidents outside our planned response times it is due to the remote location of the incident. We monitor response times to identify areas that require any changes to procedures so that we can improve service delivery.
The following breaks down our performance against our planned response times by risk band and incident risk for the most recent fiscal year, 2020/21.
88% Risk to Life
89.9% Risk to Property
Trends in society are leading to increasing numbers of vulnerable people living within our communities. These trends include:
- People living longer.
- Health needs, including mental health are becoming more complex.
- Deprivation and the cost of living.
- Increased care in the community.
All of these areas form part of our focus in identifying the most vulnerable people within our communities to ensure the risks from fire are reduced. This is carried out in line with our Community Risk Management Model.
We balance our time and resources between reducing local risk, attending incidents and preparing for the emerging and changing risks we face.
- Reducing local risks – We do this through our Prevention and Protection strategies targeting our resources towards the highest risks.
- Attending incidents – Although our ambition is “Making West Yorkshire Safer” there is still a requirement to attend incidents and we will ensure our resources are in the best place to respond to the highest risk areas.
To reduce risk our main focus is prevention.
Our Community Engagement Framework will support our prevention activities by improving contact with hard-to reach communities and understanding risk.
Our community engagement activities will improve visibility and transparency. This work allows us to cascade key community safety messages, gather research on fire and risk reduction themes and provide an opportunity for members of the community to feedback on our service.
Educating people about the risks they face to prevent emergencies and reduce vulnerability. Our Safe and Well programme is at the heart of our prevention strategy. By visiting people in their homes, it aims to improve the safety and wellbeing of people and help the most vulnerable to reduce their risk from fire at home. During these visits, we also look to identify other risks they may face such as
cold homes, crime and falls.
Our firefighters carry out most of our prevention activity when they are not attending and preparing for emergencies. Data and intelligence will inform local decision-making to allow for a more agile response to any changes in risk at a district level.
To deal with more complex cases we employ specialist prevention staff who work with our partner agencies to
reduce risk within our communities.
All our resources are allocated across the county in proportion to the risk factors. Our prevention initiatives are targeted to the
needs of the most vulnerable.
Our Corporate Communications Team play a key role in promoting our prevention campaigns making sure our message reaches the most vulnerable members of the community.
Prevention work does not end within the home; for example, we work with young people in schools and through
community groups to keep them safe from fire, road traffic collisions and the dangers of water.
We have invested in our Youth Interventions Team who deliver many initiatives through the Prince’s Trust Programme and other bespoke training courses.
Promoting and enforcing the fire safety measures required by law to ensure buildings and occupants are protected should a fire occur.
We enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; the fire safety law that applies to nearly every building other than single private homes.
We have invested in our Fire Protection Team which allows us to assign the correct resources to the areas which are most at
risk. We ensure inspecting officers have the capacity to deal with new and emerging risks within West Yorkshire. Our Risk-Based Inspection Programme utilises data and information to direct our resources towards those premises which present the greatest risk to occupants should a fire occur.
Our dedicated team is made up of qualified and experienced fire safety officers who are available to provide advice, support and investigate complaints relating to poor fire safety. We can demonstrate that through our initiatives or alternative statutory methods such as enforcement and licensing that every premise our inspectors enter, is a safer building when they leave.
Through partnership working with local authorities, we support building regulations to ensure new buildings are designed to incorporate relevant fire safety measures.
We know that business engagement is key to supporting businesses with their fire safety responsibilities ensuring they can grow and support the local economy. Our Business Fire Safety Advisor roles have been developed to engage with all business types, not just those which do not comply with legislation. These new roles will develop and increase our protection capabilities and will provide ideal opportunities for succession planning within the team.
We support smaller, local businesses to meet their fire safety duties individually and through the work we do with the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Additionally, our Fire Protection Team enforces legislation for the storage of petroleum-spirit by issuing certificates for petrol stations and licenses for the storage of explosives and fireworks.
Our work to reduce persistent false alarms has resulted in a significant decline in numbers over the last 10 years and continues on that trajectory.
Preparing for and responding to emergencies
Our Fire Control Room receives all our 999 emergency calls, and our operators assess each call to determine what emergency response is required. Fire Control sends the fire engine(s) or specialist resource(s) who can respond quickest to deal with the emergency.
Our response time combined with the number of firefighters attending a fire is critical. More serious and complex emergencies usually need more firefighters to deal with them. We call this our ‘speed and weight of attack.’
We aim to keep the current number of fire stations and fire engines, to maintain our current ‘speed and weight of attack’. Each station has a shift system based on the level of risk that the local community faces. Higher risk areas are covered by whole time (24/7) stations. Lower risk areas are covered by on-call stations. Those areas in between have a combination of both; day crewed (working during the day and on-call at night).
Our 46 fire engines are equipped to deal with the vast majority of emergencies. If the type of emergency is complex, we have strategically located specialist resources to call upon. When a fire engine is unavailable due to an emergency or operational training, we have a system and procedures in place to relocate other fire engines to maintain a good standard of cover where it is required, most according to risk.
To ensure the nearest fire engines respond to the emergencies that occur close to and over our county border, we have arrangements in place with our neighbouring Fire & Rescue Services to share fire engines and other specialist resources if required.
Being able to deal with major emergencies and disruptions whilst continuing to deliver our critical services Each of the Fire & Rescue Services across the UK can resolve most emergencies with their own fire engines and firefighters. However, occasionally, major incidents can happen that need the support of Fire & Rescue Services from other areas.
Measures are in place to allow us to call upon other Fire & Rescue Services to support us when major incidents occur. Nearly all serious emergencies require a ‘multi-agency’ response. By working with our partner agencies in West Yorkshire, we can respond with the right mix of skills, expertise, and equipment to deal with the risks we expect to face.
We operate in accordance with the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) so that we work effectively with West Yorkshire Police, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and other partner agencies at serious and major emergencies.
We recognise that the causes and consequences of fires and other emergencies, cannot be addressed by the Fire & Rescue Service in isolation. Working in partnership with other agencies is, therefore, a fundamental part of the way services are delivered at all levels and in all areas; partnership working is therefore regarded as part of our core business.
As a member, WYFRS plays a key role in the West Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (West Yorkshire Prepared) which was established under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
West Yorkshire Prepared coordinates the actions and arrangements between responding services to prepare for and respond to civil emergencies when they occur. It also helps people and communities recover after adverse events.
Our partners work collaboratively for the benefit of the communities we serve: westyorkshireprepared.org.uk.
Helping our communities prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and major incidents.
We host a suite of specialist resources that can be deployed anywhere in the UK; likewise, we can call on specialist resources hosted elsewhere across the country to respond in West Yorkshire. We have agreements in place to share these resources when needed and we consider our national commitments when making local plans.
- Flood Response - We have assets that are ready to respond to local and national flooding incidents. The High-Volume Pump removes water at incidents of wide area flooding as well as supplying large amounts of water for firefighting. Our Water Rescue Teams are ready to respond nationally to assist in the search, rescue and evacuations.
- Enhanced Logistics Support - We can manage multiple Fire & Rescue Service resources at major incidents.
- Urban Search and Rescue - Our units specialise in locating and rescuing people from collapsed buildings and heavy transport incidents.
- Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (explosives) - We are ready and equipped to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear hazards.
- Response to Terrorist Attacks - We are ready to assist the police and ambulance service in response to an attack.
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 places a duty on Police, Fire, and Ambulance Services to work together to ensure that they can become more efficient and effective.
WYFRS has a long history of partnership working to help achieve our ambition of Making West Yorkshire Safer and the implementation of the Tri-Service Collaboration Board is making this a reality. We understand the value that working with others can bring and we work closely with partners such as local authorities, blue light services, health teams, community groups and voluntary organisations to identify and support the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Making the most of collaborative opportunities has enabled us to co-locate services and deliver joint training to staff. This collaborative work underpins a more cohesive service delivery, achieves better value for money in procurement and has facilitated more effective planning for emergencies and pre-planned events.
Our current collaborative projects include taking a collaborative approach to sharing data and reducing demand on all services which will allow for a more holistic approach to preventing risk to the most vulnerable in our society.
Our services are funded by the taxpayer; we have a legal duty to ensure the services we provide offer value for money to the taxpayer and meet the requirements of an ever-changing society.
Our annual budget is £95.651 million, and we believe that we are providing the best affordable service for our communities.Through the implementation of smarter working and the introduction of an improved budget management system, the service has achieved a balanced budget during 2021/22, despite facing funding challenges and the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
This means that our expenditure is matched by our funding and there is no need to use any of our reserves.
Value for Money
WYFRS adds social and economic value through our response to fire and non-fire emergencies and through our prevention and protection activities.
At fire-related incidents we prevent further damage to property. Secondly, we prevent injuries and save lives at non-fire emergencies including rescues from water, making environments safer, spills and leaks, extrications and medical assistance.
Our prevention and protection activities include Safe and Well visits, audits and inspections of commercial premises along with fire setter and antisocial behaviour schemes. It has been calculated that each of these activities provide a positive social return on investment.
The impact of climate change and the increase in extreme weather conditions (heat waves and flooding) continue to have
an impact on the number of environmental incidents we attend.
We will balance the environmental, social and economic impacts of the activities the service undertakes and will continue to promote environmentally friendly ways of working.
In recent years, we have taken positive steps to reduce carbon emissions by introducing electric cars into the vehicle fleet. We have designed our new Headquarters site to reflect home working patterns whilst also further rationalising our estate by relocating our Service Delivery Centre and Cleckheaton Fire Station to the same site.
When redeveloping existing premises or designing new buildings we will ensure we maximise opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency across our estate.
We have reviewed our achievements and performance over the last three years. To achieve our ambition of ‘Making West Yorkshire Safer’, we will not stand still, we will continue to learn, adapt and improve in everything we do. Our achievements/performance against ‘Your Fire and Rescue Service 2020-23’ priorities
How we learn and improve
We listen to feedback from the public, our staff, their representative bodies and other interested parties. This feedback helps us to understand what we need to do better and what we might need to change each year and to celebrate our achievements.
We value the scrutiny provided by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, our internal auditors, and welcome external inspections of our service such as Customer Service Excellence and HMICFRS.
We also commission impartial and independent reviews of what we do to shape our plans in the interest of improving our service.
The key to this work is our ability to find the right balance between prevention, protection, response, resilience and service improvement to reduce the risks facing our communities.
Operational Learning is a key element of how we improve as a service; highlighting areas of good practice and areas that we can develop to improve both firefighter safety and the service we provide to the communities of West Yorkshire. We are committed to learning, developing and adopting best practices in all that we do. Our operational staff follow National Operational Guidance produced by the NFCC and we evaluate and share operational learning following incidents at a local, regional, or national level.
How we share operational learning and best practice Our Operational Learning Team is responsible for capturing the learning points following training and/or operational incidents. This is achieved through our robust debrief process. We are committed to and will continue to engage in the National Operational Learning programme to ensure best practice is achieved and embedded into both our service and nationally to allow for continuous improvement across the fire sector.
For example, the work that has been produced by our Grenfell Project Team has improved the way we deal with high-rise
building incidents. We will continue to share operational learning through the JESIP joint learning process to support and develop regional,and multi-agency working.
Through operational learning, we have been able to implement new initiatives to assist our staff in carrying out their duties more efficiently and with better safety practices in mind.
“Produced by the Services for the Services”
As part of the reform for Fire & Rescue Service, the Fire Standards Board have established professional standards to help drive continuous improvement across the fire sector. These standards are a key component to continuous improvement which all Fire & Rescue Authority’s in England must implement to ensure progress is measured and further improvements and enhancements are identified. The HMICFRS will use these standards as part of their future inspections. An internal WYFRS board has been established to oversee the successful implementation of the Fire Standards and to realise the expected benefits of achieving the standards.
We have a Service Assurance Framework which is a system in place to make sure we are doing what we say we will, and to the standards expected of us. This framework contributes to our annual statement of assurance and demonstrates compliance with the National Framework 2018.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS)
HMICFRS assess and report on how well Fire & Rescue Services prevent and protect against and respond to fires and other emergencies. It also assesses how they look after their workforce. They carry out inspections based on the three pillars; Efficiency, Effectiveness and People for the 44 Fire & Rescue Services in England and Wales and report what they find. They also examine and report on critical national issues and themes in an annual State of Fire Report. Annual State of Fire Report.
Our most recent HMICFRS report found that we were rated good in all areas across the three pillars; Effectiveness, Efficiency and People. While this was a great achievement, WYFRS is not complacent and we are currently working through a number of recommendations in an action plan which was established to embed HMICFRS feedback. We continue to review and embed HMICFRS feedback across the organisation, helping us to continually improve the service we provide to our communities. Service Assurance forms part of the overall performance management framework of WYFRS.
Digital and Data
Our Digital and Data Strategy outlines our digital investment and is focused on equipping our service with the right systems, technology and data. We continue to make major changes to our digital infrastructure: keeping up to date with data and technology developments. This enables us to determine how these digital systems could better support the way we transform and deliver our services to our staff, partners and the community.
We will future proof our collation and analysis of data, allowing us to make informed decisions about how to identify and address risk and vulnerability within our communities. Access to accurate, ‘live’ information and data will drive change and continuous improvement whilst also contributing to increased productivity in all areas of the service.
Our new performance management system will provide transparency, accountability and be the platform to share data with our fire service colleagues, partner agencies, and the communities of West Yorkshire.
A Smarter Working philosophy and methodology is embedded throughout WYFRS. By supporting innovative and more efficient ways of working departments and teams can drive change and improve. The outcome of our Smarter Working programme demonstrates the value it adds in both time and money increasing productivity ensuring we are the most efficient and effective service we can be.
As we reflect on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, we will continue learning and adapting to new challenges and embedding new ways of working across the Service. Responding to the pandemic allowed us to strengthen our partnerships and has increased our engagement with the most vulnerable in our community.
Moving forward with our programme of continuous improvement, we will focus on efficiency and effectiveness without compromising public safety. We will update this plan annually to include our approved ‘Programme of Change’.
- Corporate Identity Refresh - Redesign of existing corporate identity to present a more contemporary, relevant and engaging image of the Service.
- Birkenshaw Site Redevelopment - Modern, energy-efficient Headquarters, and Training Centre constructed on the existing site.
- New Fire Engine Fleet - Introduction of a new fleet of modern fire appliances with provision to reduce firefighter exposure to contamination.
- Keighley Fire Station New Build - The construction of a new fire station on the existing site to replace an oversized and outdated fire station.
- Halifax Fire Station New Build - The construction of a new fire station on the existing site to replace an oversized and outdated fire station.
- Huddersfield Fire Station New Build - The construction of a new fire station on theexisting site to replace an oversized and outdated fire station.
- Relocation of Cleckheaton Fire Station - The construction of a new fire station on our site in Birkenshaw to replace an oversized and outdated fire station.
- Estates Review - Feasibility study at all our fire stations to improve diversity and inclusion and contamination management within the workplace.
- OneView - Performance management programme to provide a transparent, timely and flexible method of sharing performance data with our colleagues, partners, and the communities.
- Leadership Strategy - A new approach that will develop and enhance leadership and our service values at all levels and allow for continuous improvement.
- Emergency Services Mobile Communication Programme - Provision of a national radio scheme utilising mobile phone technology.
- Fire Standards Programme - Implementation of nationally agreed fire standards across Fire & Rescue Service core functions.
- Accessible Content Toolkit Project - Ensuring that digital content, including websites, mobile apps and documents that are shared electronically are accessible to all audiences.
- Grenfell Project - Review and implement the recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report.
- Talent Management Strategy Deployment - A new approach designed to identify people within the organisation with talent (transparently and systematically) and develop them to progress and/or enhance skills to fill current and future skills gaps.
- Access HR - Talent (PDR Module) - In two phases, the project is designed to upgrade the systems used to record Annual Appraisals and integrate them within the Access-HR system, supplementing current approaches with an opportunity to capture better quality talent information.