Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service says there are ‘lessons to be learnt’ as figures showed their average response time is slower than the national average.
England’s average response time, across all fire and rescue services, is seven minutes 37 seconds, while Nottinghamshire’s is nine minutes 48 seconds.
But Area Manager Mick Sharman, Head of Response, told a Fire Authority meeting on October 8 he was “confident to defend” the fire service’s position because Nottinghamshire is compared to ‘urbanised’ cities such as London and Manchester which have fewer remote rural areas.
The latest Home Office response times figures from April 2019 to March 2020 show Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is above average for the total response times and above average for all three sub reporting categories – call handling, crew turnout and drive times.
Mr Sharman said the report “really draws attention to Nottinghamshire having a higher than average response time”.
He said: “Because of the geographical boundaries, we are classed as predominately urban. Our call handling times are compared to metropolitans [like] London, Manchester and the West Midlands which is really quite strange.
“Our turn out time is slightly above average but I feel confident to defend that situation.
“There are still lessons to be learnt and work for us to do as a service.”
He added different services record call times in different ways, meaning weighing up NFRS performance to the England average “is not comparable”.
He said it was better to compare it to nearby services – Derbyshire and Leicestershire, where response times are between nine and 10 minutes.
A report to the authority on the issue added: “It is believed due to the urban and rural nature of Nottinghamshire drive times will be above average, and when comparing times with other counties of a similar demographics there are no areas of concern to report.
“Members should be assured that officers maintain a focus and are commitment as detailed in the Services’ 2019 – 20 Strategic Plan to ensure that incidents are attended in an average below eight minutes.”