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Safer Together - how we will change to meet your needs

Latest update: Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority approves recommendations

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority has approved recommendations on changes to how the Service operates. The recommendations were considered and approved at the Fire Authority meeting on the 10 January. This follows the public consultation exercise in 2019.


Service Delivery public consultation

The Service launched its Safer Together Service Delivery public consultation in July 2019, to give you the chance to have your say in the future of our Service. We asked you to get involved either by attending one of our consultation events, or by completing our online consultation survey. The consultation closed on 22 September 2019. Find out more.


A report from the consultation findings was independently analysed (by Opinion Research Services (ORS)), and the final report was published for consideration by the Fire Authority on 10 January.

We are here to protect and save

We work every day with our communities and partners to prevent emergencies and to make you safer in your home, place of work and where you visit.

Our Safer Together programme proposes to change the way we work to ensure we are responding to current and future risks in our two counties.


What we’re considering as part of the wider Safer Together change programme: 

  • How many of our existing fire stations we still need due to falling numbers of incidents
  • Refurbishment or rebuilding of fire stations 
  • Location and number of different types of fire engines (also called appliances)
  • New types of fire engines
  • New equipment for firefighters
  • Firefighter shift patterns and duty systems
  • Improved digital technology to support our work 

How we've already helped reduce the number of fires

In the last 10 years, total fires have reduced by 33% across England. This reduction has largely been due to two things: our work around fire prevention and protection, and changes in technology and habits. (Data 2007/08 - 2017/18 from FIRE0102 Government statistical data).

Every year we carry out about 28,000 hours of prevention activities across Devon and Somerset, including home safety visits, school talks and visiting other groups. We also carry out checks and audits for non-domestic premises and events - around 18,000 hours a year.

There have been significant changes in both technology and our daily habits which have impacted the number of fires. The smoking ban; changes to furniture and furnishing regulations; and even the introduction of the oven chip meaning we deep-fry less, have all contributed to reducing fire risks inside the home.

To put this into context, 56 of our fire station areas, (including Lundy) have fewer than 10 dwelling fires a year. A dwelling fire is a fire in a domestic property such as house, flats or caravan. (Data is a 5 year average taken from April 14 to March 19 inclusive).

Eight of our fire station areas, (including Lundy) have fewer than 10 fires of all types a year. This could be a minor fire such as a dustbin fire. (Data is a 5 year average taken from April 14 to March 19 inclusive).

We need to adapt to our ever-changing population

Not only have our lives and habits changed, our population in Devon and Somerset has changed too.

In the past few years we have seen significant new housing developments across our two counties, and these new developments are continuing to grow. This means we need to assess where we are located in relation to this change in population size and shape.

Through our risk analysis and risk profiling, we also know some people will be more at risk of being involved in a fatal fire due to certain factors, and we need to ensure we are able to take steps to reduce the likelihood of these incidents.

For example, we know that those aged over 85 have a much higher rate of fatal fires. In Devon and Somerset, it is predicted that the number of people aged over 85 will nearly double (43% increase) in the next ten years.

This means we need to take steps to reduce the risk of incidents happening, through our prevention work. As part of our Safer Together proposed changes we will be looking to prioritise and increase our capacity to deliver targeted prevention and protection activities in our communities.

We have been analysing our own data as well as data from partners. This new intelligence means we know how we need to match our resources - our crews, equipment and fleet - to specific risks in each of our communities. It also means we could increase our capacity for important prevention and protection work activity within our annual budget.

Questions or feedback about Safer Together? Get in touch:

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