West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is the county-wide, statutory emergency fire and rescue service for the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England. It is administered by a joint authority of 22 people who are appointed annually from the five metropolitan boroughs of West Yorkshire, known as the Fire and Rescue Authority.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service logo.jpg
Operational area
CountryEngland
CountyWest Yorkshire
Agency overview
Established1974 (1974)
Employees961 (2016 frontline staff)[1]
Facilities and equipment
Stations40
Engines47
Website
www.westyorksfire.gov.uk Edit this at Wikidata

West Yorkshire covers an area of approximately 800 square miles (2,100 km2) which includes remote moorland, rural villages, large towns, cities, busy motorways and 'A' roads, as well as Leeds Bradford International Airport.[2] The fire and rescue service's headquarters are located in Birkenshaw, Bradford.[3] There is also a large training centre at Birkenshaw used by other authorities besides West Yorkshire.

In 2006, the service was listed as being the fourth largest in England (behind London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester fire services) with 1,600 wholetime firefighters and 199 retained.[4] It has 47 pumping appliances based at 40 stations, sub-divided into five districts: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.[5][6]

HistoryEdit

The brigade was formed in 1974 when the unitary county of West Yorkshire was created and was an amalgamation of smaller brigades across the county.[7] These included the West Riding County Fire Service, Bradford City Fire Brigade, Dewsbury County Borough Fire Brigade, Halifax County Borough Fire Brigade, Huddersfield County Borough Fire, Leeds City Fire Brigade and Wakefield City Fire Brigade.[7] At its inception, the WYFRS operated fifty-two stations across the five districts.[8] Today the fire service operates out of 40 fire stations

The service's headquarters is at Oakroyd Hall in Birkenshaw; the hall is a grade II listed building that has housed the headquarters since 1964, when it was the headquarters for the West Riding Fire Service (WRFS).[9][10] Previous to that, the WRFS headquarters was at Huddersfield,[11] though its training centre had moved to Birkenshaw in 1961.[12]

After a number of firefighter deaths at notable fires in the 1990s (Gillender street in Bow, East London [1991] and the Sun Valley poultry factory fire in Hereford [1993]), coupled with the publishing of the Fennell Report into the King's Cross fire of 1987, WYFRS developed an incident command policy that encompassed an at-incident dynamic risk assessment and an organisational structure assessment for major fires. This policy was driven forward by central government and after some refinement was adopted in 1999.[13]

In April 2014, the service's emergency call response centre was moved from the Birkenshaw site to a location in Leeds, which also subsequently became the call centre for the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (SYFRS), in the event of a control room failure at SYFRS control in Sheffield.[14]

PerformanceEdit

In 2018/2019, every fire and rescue service in England and Wales was subjected to a statutory inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HIMCFRS). The inspection investigated how well the service performs in each of three areas. On a scale of outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was rated as follows:[15]

HMICFRS Inspection West Yorkshire 2018/19
Area Rating Description
Effectiveness Good How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
Efficiency Good How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
People Good How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?

Fire stationsEdit

 
Rover 200 being used for Fire training at Wetherby Fire Station in 2015.
 
Kirkstall Road fire station
 
Wetherby fire station
 
Halifax fire station
 
Otley fire station

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service operates a headquarters and training centre at Birkenshaw,[16] plus 40 fire stations grouped into five districts:[17]

  • Bradford District
  • Calderdale District
  • Kirklees District
  • Leeds District
  • Wakefield District

The number of fire stations has changed in recent years as stations are closed, merged, or new ones opened.

Stanningley fire station was opened in February 2003 to replace the two closed stations at Bramley and Pudsey.[18]

Pontefract fire station opened in 2012 to replace the older Pontefract station with Knottingley fire station closing completely.[19]

South Kirkby fire station replaced South Elmsall fire station (wholetime) and Hemsworth fire station (retained) in 2015.[20][21]

Shipley fire station moved to a new site in May 2017 on Valley Road, closer to Bradford. The new station replaced the old Shipley fire station (located in Saltaire) and Idle fire station, which closed completely.[22]

WYFRS planned to merge Moortown and Cookridge fire stations on one site. Outline permission to redevelop the site for housing was approved in June 2017.[23][24]

Keighley fire station is due to be demolished and a completely new structure will be built on the site. £2.2 million was set aside for the project in 2019, however, the Covid pandemic halted works on the site.[25]

Duty crewing systemsEdit

The Wholetime Duty System (WDS) is when a fire station is staffed 24/7, and involves four watches of firefighters who work two day shifts from 08:00 to 19:00, two night shifts from 19:00 to 08:00, and then take the following four complete days off.

The Day Crewing System (DCS) is where firefighters respond from the fire station during the day from 08:00 to 17:00, and become on-call retained firefighters outside of these hours. Stations operate on either a four days on/then four days off, or a two days on/two days off/three days on basis.

The Day-Crewed Close-Call System (DC/CCS) is where firefighters respond from the station on a two days on/two days off/three days on basis between the hours of 08:00 and 17:00, and then respond from on-site accommodation out of hours. The close call system is where the firefighters work a set number of hours annually, so the shift patterns are managed locally. Ranks of station manager and above can work a Flexible Duty System, with the remainder of the staff being on a retained basis.[26]

The Retained Duty System (RDS) is where all firefighters respond from home or from their usual jobs on a retained "on-call" basis, and are therefore required to live within five minutes of the fire station, or work within five minutes of the fire station if they are able and willing to respond from work Firefighters are alerted by electronic pager.

Station closuresEdit

In recent years the service has sought to rationalise its stations. In 2013, Marsden fire station was closed, while in 2015 Gipton and Stanks fire stations in East Leeds were replaced with a single fire station between the two sites at Killingbeck.[27] Of the eight firefighters based at Marsden, three left the service, whilst five transferred to the retained station at Slaithwaite. The fire appliance from Marsden was moved as a cover fire engine at Huddersfield.[28] Haworth fire station, which was staffed by retained firefighters, was closed permanently in 2014.[29]

In the same year, Batley and Dewsbury's fire stations were merged into a single site in Dewsbury and Brighouse and Elland fire stations were also amalgamated into one fire station in Rastrick that is nearer to the M62 motorway.[30] the stations at Otley and Rawdon were due to be closed and replaced with a combined site located in the Menston area, but these plans were abandoned after a suitable site could not be found.[31][32]

Notable incidentsEdit

  • Bradford City stadium fire – 11 May 1985; a fire at valley Parade, the home of ground of Bradford City Football Club which killed 56 people.[33]
  • Allied Colloids plant in Low Moor – 21 July 1992; a large fire at the chemical plant involved over 150 firefighters and precipitated the closure of the adjacent M62 motorway.[34]
  • Hickson & Welsh plant, Castleford – 21 September 1992; more than 100 firefighters and 17 engines were required to tackle the fire.[35]
  • Speedibake Bakery, Wakefield – 1 February 2020; more than 20 pumps and two aerials with specialist vehicles across the county required to tackle a fire that broke out at the bakery causing significant closures nearby, at its height around 140 firefighters in attendance.[36]
  • Spring Mill Street tyre storage, Bradford – 16–23 November 2020; at its height, 90 firefighters and 15 appliances were involved at a major tyre fire on the site of a former go-karting facility in central Bradford, where over 600,000 tyres were stored. Twenty schools in the area were closed due to air pollution concerns, while train services to Bradford Interchange were suspended. The fire was declared out on 23 November, however some crews remained to tackle smouldering remains.[37][38] The WYFRS response to the fire was featured in a July 2021 episode of BBC documentary Yorkshire Firefighters.[39]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Your Area - West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service". westyorks.fire.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  2. ^ "About Us". www.westyorksfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  3. ^ Keith, Joseph (31 January 2017). "VIDEO: Watch YEP reporter take on West Yorkshire firefighter training day". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ "House of Commons - Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions - Written Evidence". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ "West Yorkshire". justiceinspectorates.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Districts - West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service". westyorksfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b Atkinson, Neil (28 March 2014). "New book to mark forty years of West Yorkshire Fire Service". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ Wallington 2014, p. 2.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Oakroyd Hall (Grade II) (1391175)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Headquarters - West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service". westyorksfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Respected former fire chief mourned". Wakefield Express. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  12. ^ Wallington 2014, p. 18.
  13. ^ "The Future of Incident Command" (PDF). www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk. August 2015. p. 6. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Taking the heat: Fire call handlers on move". Yorkshire Evening Post. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  15. ^ "West Yorkshire 2018/19". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HIMCFRS). 17 December 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Stations - West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service". westyorksfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Your Area". West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Action stations in new £3m HQ". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 27 January 2003. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  19. ^ Wallington 2014, p. 114.
  20. ^ "Dignitaries impressed after first glimpse of new South Kirkby Fire Station - West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service". westyorksfire.gov.uk. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  21. ^ "New fire station in South Kirkby is officially open". Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  22. ^ Stanford, Mark (31 May 2017). "New £4.5m fire station opens". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Green light for Leeds homes - but 'no current plan'". Yorkshire Evening Post. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Site earmarked for fire station". Yorkshire Evening Post. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  25. ^ Mitchinson, James, ed. (21 October 2021). "Step forward in fire station move". The Yorkshire Post. p. 12. ISSN 0963-1496.
  26. ^ "Duty Systems - Wholetime Firefighter Recruitment". joinwyfirefighters.com. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  27. ^ "County's oldest fire station closes". BBC News. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  28. ^ Douglas, Joanne (2 May 2013). "Marsden Fire Station closes for good – see what's next for fire cover in the Colne Valley". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Protest outside closed fire station". BBC News. 12 December 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  30. ^ Cooper, Louise (25 August 2015). "New purpose-built fire station 'goes live' in Dewsbury". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Fire stations saved from closure". BBC News. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Closure of fire stations approved". BBC News. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  33. ^ Herbert, Ian (11 November 2015). "'Police were to blame' for most life lost at Bradford". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  34. ^ "Factory blaze injures 34". The Independent. 22 July 1992. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  35. ^ Pithers, Malcolm (22 September 1992). "Two die in blast at chemical works: Risk of poisonous fumes forces". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Building Fire Make Pumps 20 – Wakefield". West Yorkshire Fire Service. 1 February 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  37. ^ "Bradford tyre fire: Crews still at scene of blaze a week on". BBC News. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  38. ^ Young, Chris (27 February 2021). "Every single West Yorkshire firefighter needed to tackle huge Bradford tyre blaze". Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  39. ^ Winrow, Jo (14 July 2021). "Yorkshire Firefighters: 'Intense' Bradford tyre fire to feature in new BBC TV series". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford. Retrieved 16 January 2022.

SourcesEdit

  • Wallington, Neil (2014). Images of Fire; Into Action with the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. Huddersfield: Jeremy Mills. ISBN 978-1-909837-15-7.

External linksEdit