History and Changes Of Fire Services In UK

When man discovered fire, he has also battled the flames and found ways to control it. It is his responsibility to protect his belongings from fire incidents. Long ago there was no fire service that can help whenever there is a fire crisis, and the method to put out the fire is by using a bucket of water and other water containers available. UK first started the fire brigade and its services with fire engine and crews that were presented by voluntary bodies, insurance companies and parish authorities.

History and Changes Of Fire Services In UK

Nicholas Barbon introduced a type of insurance in case fire happens; it followed a public outcry during the famous fire incident that happened in 1666. He then formed the first fire brigade, and many followed his lead. Many of these insurance companies merged in the year 1833, and the first fire chief was James Braidwood. But in the mid-1850s, there were many changes on how fire was fought. Steamed powered appliances were adopted by the fire brigade wherein it can hold a great amount of water to be directed to the fire. But in early 1900s, internal-combustion engine was introduced to replace the older engine.

Fire services are undergoing changes wherein new legislation has replaced several Parliament Acts, and below is a list of a rough timeline:

  • Fire Brigade Act 1938 – presented fire brigade in Great Britain to have centralised coordination, and required local authorities to have an effective fire brigade.
  • Fire Services Act 1947 – shifted the functions of the National Fire Service to local authorities.
  • Fire Services Act 1959 – amended the 1947 Act; pensions were included; arrangements of staff and services were provisioned by other authorities.
  • Greater London Authority Act 1999 – this was essential to enable the formation of Greater London Authority and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.
History and Changes Of Fire Services In UK

There were series of Fire strikes in 2002 and until now, many proposals are being studied and considered. Fire services have undergone many changes, but these changes are for the good of everyone.

A Glimpse On LFB

The London fire brigade or LFB, the largest fire services in the UK and ranked fourth-largest in the whole world. It is London’s statutory fire and rescue service. They have almost 7,000 staff wherein 5,800 of it are operation fire fighters that are based at 112 fire stations.

Lists of what LFB does:

A Glimpse On LFB
  1. They respond to traffic collision, trapped-in-lift releases and floods as well as incidents that involve hazardous materials, which is a danger to the people and environment and major vehicular accidents.
  2. They conduct emergency planning as well as perform inspections for fire safety and educate schools, homes, and organisations.
  3. They are well-trained and knowledgeable in first aid, but they do not provide ambulance service because it is under London Ambulance Service, which is an independent NHS trust.
  4. They carry with them in their fire engine a first aid equipment, which also includes basic resuscitators.
  5. They have services such as animal rescue and suicides or attempts and waterborne rescue.

They use 4 risk systems in categorizing fire where every building is graded for its risk on the scale of A to D. Below are 4 categories that LFB use:

  • Category A includes places with high density of large populations or buildings. Three fire engines are dispatched and the first two within 5 minutes, and the last one is within 8 minutes.
  • Category B includes areas with medium density of large populations or buildings. Two fire engines are dispatched. The first one will arrive in 5 minutes, and the second is 8 minutes.
  • Category C includes lower density, detached properties and suburban areas. Only one fire engine is deployed within 10 minutes.
  • Category D covers rural areas not covered by the first three categories and only one fire engine is deployed within 20 minutes.
A Glimpse On LFB

The FLB have multi-tasking job. However, they follow an organized system in order for them to perform and do their task well.

Essential Details On How To Be Part Of UK’s Fire Brigade

Being a firefighter is not easy since danger is always associated with it. One should be prepared physically, emotionally, and mentally to join the fire brigade. There were many who attempted to join but many also failed. To pass the training in becoming a firefighter, you should be more skilful and smart. But getting an entry to become a firefighter is hard. You should not just be patient; your best effort must also be given if you want to pursue this career. The procedure of joining the UK fire and rescue services differs throughout the UK but with same principles.

Important Tests And Requirements To Become A Firefighter

  • Eyesight Requirement – our eyesight deteriorates due to several factors, and firefighters are required to a particular level of good eyesight.
  • Psychological Tests – this section contains 3 different tests: (1) working with numbers wherein applicant’s skill is measured when comprehending and dealing with numeric data, (2) understanding information wherein applicants are able to understand and read written information, and (3) problem-solving and situational awareness is evaluating applicant’s skill to ensure their own and other people’s safety as well as the ability to solve problems.
  • Physical Test – to determine your fitness level, manual agility and strength and level of confidence. There are 6 physical tests: (1) climbing on the ladder, (2) evacuation of casualty, (3) lifting of ladder/lower simulation, (4) enclosed spaces, (5) assembly of equipment, and (6) carrying of equipment.
  • Interview Question – this is used to evaluate your experience with regards to your personal attributes and qualities. Areas likely to be considered are working with others, devotion to excellence, and devotion to development, devotion to integrity and diversity and effective communication.
  • Medical Examination – this is done when you’re almost finished with the training, and you are invited to participate. This kind of test involves the following:
Essential Details On How To Be Part Of UK's Fire Brigade
    1. Hearing test – you will be asked to press a button upon hearing a sound while sitting in a sound proof booth wearing headphones
    2. Step test – you will be requested to step up and down on a box while the rate of your heart is monitored and the step rate will slowly be increased.
    3. Lung function – you will be requested to blow hard and long on a hollow tube, and a reading is obtained and assessed accordingly.
    4. Physical stamina – you will be required to squat on a machine to test your thigh and back strength and pulling a specific measurement.
    5. General test – you’ll finally see a physician that will test your reflexes and explain your medical questionnaire.
    6. Chest x-ray – some FRSs will recommend you to go to the hospital for chest x-ray.

    When you are ready to join the fire brigade, you must possess all the qualifications and quality of a firefighter.

    The Fire Service Salary Of UK

    Fire service in UK has well-trained people who are dedicated to help other people and respond to emergency services. If you are thinking about this career, it has a very good salary every month, but you should also submit to some conditions. Being part of the fire service in UK is not a simple task that is why they deserve to be paid accordingly.

    The Fire Service Salary In UK

    Here is a glimpse of the fire fighter’s salary in UK. You should know that some positions are subject to overtime pay and as the competence level increases, so does the salary. It may take years for one to achieve its competence and be promoted to the rate the fire fighter deserves.

    The Fire Service Salary Of UK


    Trainee £21,583
    Development £22,481
    Competent £28,766

    Crew Manager
    Development £30,574
    Competent £31,892

    Watch Manager
    Development £32,582
    Competent A £33,487
    Competent B £35,664

    Station Manager
    Development £37,096
    Competent A £38,209
    Competent B £40,915

    Group Manager
    Development £42,723
    Competent A £44,005
    Competent B £47,361

    Area Manager
    Development £50,156
    Competent A £51,660
    Competent B £55,018

    Other Important Details That You Should Know:

    • Whole-time fire fighters work in urban areas while retained fire fighters work in rural areas wherein he typically lives just five minutes away from the fire station. Retained fire fighters are either employed or self-employed and they are allowed to leave work to respond to an emergency incident.
    • The hours of work may not be the regular social hours. Some may have to work a two-day shift which is followed by two night shifts and then four days off.
    • You can find a list of available jobs for the fire and rescue services in the entire UK by simply searching for it over the Internet.  
    The Fire Service Salary Of UK

    There are still other conditions that you will want to know about this career, it is recommended to do your research first.

    The Primary Work Activities Of UK Firemen

    We all know that even before the development and improvement of equipment used to put out fire, the basic and primary role of firemen is to respond to fire-related emergency situations to protect the people and the environment. If you are thinking about becoming a part of these brave and courageous men, then you should first be familiar with the typical work activities they do. Below are the details you can take note.

    What Firemen Usually Do In UK

    The Primary Work Activities Of UK Firemen
    • Automatically respond to emergency calls and assistance request.
    • Attends to emergency situations such as fires, flood, road accidents, rail and air crashes, bomb incidents and dangerous substance spills.
    • Rescuing the people and animals that are trapped.
    • Giving first aid treatment before the crews from ambulance arrive and safeguarding everyone’s personal safety at the same time.
    • Clean-up and checking of the site after the incident have already been dealt.
    • Giving time in familiarizing the streets, buildings and roads within their area so that they can respond to emergency calls right away.
    • Constant inspection and maintenance of fire equipment. Assists in testing the fire hydrants as wells as checking of water supplies to be used for emergency incidents.
    • Undergoes physical training and drills and also participates in training on the use of equipment, techniques and other related concerns.
    • Maintains physical fitness to carry out the duties effectively.
    • Informing and educating the public to promote fire safety such as home visits and giving advice, presenting to schools and organisations.

    Being a fireman requires more of your physical strength. If you think you can do the basic activities and work of a fireman, then you should consider this career. But first, you need to know more about its requirements and the necessary trainings that you need to undergo for you to successfully become an effective fireman. You will want to ask the firemen in your area to get more specific details about their job.

    UK Fire Service Ranks And Their Duties

    Fire fighters need a high level of discipline and the operational management of the fire services in UK has a rank structure that represents hierarchy. The ranks are visible on a firefighter’s protective helmet as well as the collars of their firefighting jacket. Below is a list of their ranks and duties that you will want to know.

    UK Fire Service Ranks And Their Duties
    • Firefighter: Firefighter – both the collar and helmet have no markings. They regularly carry their daily task of fire safety work and fire fighting.
    • Leading Firefighter: Crew Manager – helmet has one 12.5mm black band and one vertical line marking on the collar. Usually in charge of a certain crew of a fire appliance to many stations. Carries out regular daily task of fire fighting and fire safety and also takes charge of emergency incidents, which can involve up to 3 pumping appliance.
    • Sub Officer: Watch Manager A – helmet has two 12.5mm black band and two vertical lines markings on the collar. Responsible of the watch of the crew of a fire appliance or fire stations that are smaller. Will attend and command as officer in charge which also involves 3 pumping appliances. Undertakes specialist duties like training or fire safety.
    • Station Officer: Watch Manager B – uses a white helmet with one 12.5mm black band and two octagon shapes with special markings on the collar. Takes charge of an emergency incident involving 6 pumps or will do a specialist task serving as support at a certain incident.
    • Assistant Divisional Officer: Station Manager – uses a white helmet with one 19mm black band and three octagon shapes with special markings on the collar. Manages a fire station or daily tasks in a certain policy area. Takes charge of an emergency incident involving 6 pumps or also do specialist tasks as support in an incident.
    • Divisional Officer: Group Manager – uses a white helmet with one 12.5mm and one 19mm black band and one octagon shape with special design around it on the collar. Manages a group of fire stations and daily tasks in a certain policy area. Takes charge of an emergency incident involving 9 pumps and also do specialist tasks serving as support at an incident.
    • Senior Divisional Officer: Area Manager – uses a white helmet with one 12.5mm and one 19mm black band and one octagon shape with special design around on the collar. Manages an area of fire brigade policy or operations. Takes charge of incidents involving 9 pumps and will also do specialist tasks serving as support.
    • Assistant Chief Fire Officer: Brigade Manager – uses a white helmet with two 19mm black bands and one octagon shape with special design around it along with one smaller octagon shape markings on the collar. Takes charge of incidents involving 10 pumps or more.
    • Deputy Chief Fire Officer: Brigade Manager – uses a white helmet with two 19mm black bands and one octagon shape with special design around it along with a smaller octagon shape and vertical line on the side markings on the collar. Acts as the deputy in the absence of the Chief Fire Officer. Takes charge of incidents involving 10 pumps or more.
    • Chief Fire Officer – uses a white helmet with one 38mm black band and one octagon shape with special design around it along with two smaller octagon shape markings on the collar.

    Importance Of Fire Service College

    Every firefighter needs additional knowledge of their profession. They have to upgrade and update themselves to become more effective in their career. That is why the fire service college was created way back before World War 2, its name was different but the principle used is the same. Many training facilities were created then for firefighters to have additional trainings and to be more equipped.

    The fire service college is responsible for producing advanced operational training courses, management and leadership for senior fire officers from United Kingdom and other foreign fire authorities. The college delivers the entire spectrum of training for all levels for firefighters, which includes initial training for the recruits. They have a wide-range of facilities for practical training and theoretical education in fire fighting, accident, fire safety and emergency work.

    Importance Of Fire Service College

    Operational Training:

    Importance Of Fire Service College
    • Breathing apparatus complex- area where firefighters train in vital situation through the use of breathing apparatus equipment. This complex has several highly flexible facilities.
    • Industrial complexes – flexible facility that enables firefighters to test their skills and capability in both industrial and factory settings.
    • Domestic property – household fire is one of the common fires, and this facility resembles a realistic house scenario to test the capability and skill of the firefighter.
    • High rise property – this facility is made up of six floors and can be used to engage in cold smoke or hot fire situation.
    • A ship – dealing with marine and sea situations.
    • A railway – complex rail way incidents are being tested in this facility.
    • A mock motorway and RTC – exposing firefighters to current motor technologies, techniques and hazards.
    • Fire behavior units – this is very important in firefighters because they will experience and learn special techniques and skills in dealing potential lethal situation such as “flashover and backdraft”.
    • Urban search and rescue – training exercises such as carrying out search and rescue techniques, multi-level collapsed buildings and working in the confined area.
    Importance Of Fire Service College

    The fire service college was also used in training military and police personnel. The college is a very important facility where trainings are being made to help save people’s lives.

    The Fire And Rescue Services Of UK

    There are 50 fire and rescue services or also called as FRS in the entire UK. Most of the FRS before was known as county or brigade’s fire services but the standard terminology FRS is now used. It is governed by fire and rescue authority, but they are different. Fire and rescue authority is a legislative, administrative and public body, which is made up of civilians who are mostly members of elected regional or local bodies, and the fire and rescue services are funded through the share of council tax. At the start of 21st century, the FRS has undergone through a lot of changes because of the new legislation and a change and development to its procedures in operation regarding terrorism threats and attacks, and also because of the devolution of the government powers.

    If you are wondering what FRS can provide, they can actually do Home Fire Safety Checks and fit smoke alarms to a number of people in the community that are vulnerable. You may be visited at your place, but you need to gather more information first and learn if you are eligible for it or not. Below is a list of what you can do regarding home fire safety checks.

    The Fire And Rescue Services Of UK
    1. You can visit the website of the Chief Fire Officers Association. You will see a list of local fire and service rescue, all you need to do is to choose a specific location, and it will lead you to another website.
    2. Depending on the location, you can submit a home visit request form from their website. You will need to provide your full name, email address, telephone number, address and postcode and other necessary details and then submit. There are some websites that would want you to email them or call their office to schedule the home visit.
    3. Home Checks are usually provided for free.
    4. You just need to wait for the schedule of the visit if you qualify.
    The Fire And Rescue Services Of UK

    In their websites, they provide very helpful information and tips regarding fire prevention, and you will want to take note of them. There are also recommendations on what you can do such as installing fire alarms and their appropriate locations in the house. You should take advantage of the free home fire safety check. They will give you basic assessment of the level of fire risks in your home, which will not take more than an hour depending on the size of your home. What are you waiting for? Set up an appointment now.