West Yorkshire’s fire and rescue authority has been judged by the Audit Commission, in the Fire Service Modernisation Report 2004, as one of the most forward-thinking in the country. It is a ranking shared only with London and Staffordshire.
In the first Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the Authority, carried out by the Audit Commission in April 2005, West Yorkshire was awarded a 'Good' rating.
The Authority is an independent body with a legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service that meets the needs of local communities. It also has responsibilities regarding the enforcement of fire prevention, petroleum and explosives legislation.
The authority is made up of 22 people who are appointed annually by the county’s five district councils: Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and Calderdale.
It has been a pioneer in developing many of the community fire safety programmes which now lie at the heart of the national drive towards fire service modernisation. It is committed to a huge expansion of this type of work in the future.
The authority serves a population of more than two million spread over an area of almost 800 square miles. Fire cover is provided 24-hours per day, every day of the year.
All 999 calls are received by a central control room at HQ in Birkenshaw. Appliances can then be mobilised from 48 fire stations. Each front-line fire engine is equipped with state-of-the-art rescue equipment -- some are also geared up for heavy rescue. There is also a fleet of specialist back-up appliances.
Our firefighters stand trained and ready to cope with a whole range of emergencies, not just fire. These include: road, rail or air crashes, floods, chemical spills and even terrorist attack.
There are approximately 1,700 full-time operational personnel in West Yorkshire, a further 161 in the retained (part-time) ranks and 54 in the control room.