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.


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.

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.