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National overview

Understand who is responsible for fire and rescue in England, what the government’s reforms are and how fire services are changing in line with national trends.

National picture

There are 44 fire and rescue services in England. Each service is overseen by a fire and rescue authority who is responsible for fire and rescue in that area. 

Government's fire and rescue priorities

Home Office sign

The Home Office sets priorities for fire and rescue authorities through the Fire and Rescue National Framework for England. The current priorities are:

  • make appropriate provision for fire prevention and protection activities and response to fire and rescue related incidents
  • identify and assess the full range of foreseeable fire and rescue related risks their areas face
  • collaborate with emergency services and other local and national partners to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the service they provide
  • be accountable to communities for the service they provide
  • develop and maintain a workforce that is professional, resilient, skilled, flexible and diverse.

View the fire and rescue national framework, which sets out the government’s priorities and requirements for fire and rescue authorities in England.

In the year ending December 2021, fire and rescue services attended around 555,400 incidents, of which:

  • 27% were fires
  • 40% were fire false alarms
  • 33% were non-fire incidents including road traffic collisions, flooding and animal rescue

The number of incidents fire and rescue services attend has changed over the years – there were 8% fewer incidents in the year ending December 2021 compared with 10 years ago, including a 34% drop in fire incidents. There are several possible reasons for this such as more people owning a working smoke alarm, fewer people smoking, better furniture regulations and the prevention work being done by fire and rescue services.

Generally, fewer people are also being harmed by fire. Fire-related deaths have fallen by 12% over the last 10 years to 280 in the year ending December 2021. There has also been a fall in the number of casualties that need hospital treatment following a fire. In the year ending December 2021 there were around 2,600 casualties requiring hospital treatment - a 40% decrease compared with ten years ago.

View more statistics on incidents and casualties on GOV.UK

Fire and rescue activities


Each year, fire and rescue services carry out a wide range of fire safety activities. In 2020/21, FRSs and their partners completed 169,554 face to face home fire safety checks (HFSCs) and 90,114 virtual HFSCs. Additionally, they completed around 34,400 fire safety audits in other buildings.

View more statistics on non-fire activities on GOV.UK.

Fire and rescue staff numbers

As the number of incidents have fallen, staff numbers in fire and rescue services have also reduced. As of 31 March 2021, there were around 31,500 firefighters, compared with 41,600 in 2010 – a 24% reduction. The majority of firefighters are white (95%) and male (92%).

View more statistics on workforce and pensions on GOV.UK


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