Fire engine in Manchester

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue most improved nationwide

A new report has found that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is now the most improved in the country, sitting among the best performing services nationwide.

With the report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Resue Services (HMICFRS), praise for GMFRS has come thanks to the significant progress that it has made to drive positive change to the culture, and the way it operates.

Eleven different areas were assessed by HMICFRS, covering areas from the prevention of fires and protecting the public, to promoting the right culture and the development of the workforce. Ten of the assessed areas were rated as ‘good’ which is a marked improvement on the first inspection in 2018 when only three areas received that rating. Six of the areas have also been recognised as demonstrating promising or innovative practice, which is more than any other service across the country so far.

GMFRS improvements infographic

Chief Fire Officer Dave Russell commented:

“Our service has been on a significant improvement journey since I joined in September 2020, and I am the first to admit that journey hasn’t always been easy. But we have always been open and honest about the challenges we have faced, and about our determination to tackle them head-on and change for the better.   

“This was our service’s third inspection in five years and the inspectors have been rigorous and fair in carrying out their work. I am pleased to say that we have already acted on the recommendations within this report, and I am confident that further progress will be reflected in our next inspection.

“Whilst we are delighted with this report, we are by no means complacent, and we know that improvement is a continuous journey. We will never rest on our laurels as a service, or shy away from defending our culture and values as we continue on that journey to ‘outstanding’. But today is a day when everyone in GMFRS can be proud of how far we’ve come together.”

Some of the improvements and successes outlined in the report include:

  • Faster incident response times than the national average, whilst improving on last year’s target responses.
  • Fully equipping all frontline fire engines, with firefighters being trained to respond to mass casualty and terrorist incidents.
  • Helping to prevent drownings through the establishment of a Greater Manchester Water Safety Partnership.
  • Engaging with 8,419 businesses in 2022/24, with this delivering fire safety for 39,000 premises.
  • Carrying out 23,889 Home Fire Safety Assessments across Greater Manchester, compared to the 7,851 that were carried out in 2021/22.
  • Implementing innovation in technology, including through new Mobile Data Terminals on fire engines so that crews responding to incidents can access detailed information.
  • Establishing a Culture First Board and Culture Sounding Panel to ‘put culture at the heart of the service’.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, added:

“I am immensely proud to say that today, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is one of the best performing fire and rescue services in the country.

“We know that the service of seven years ago has undergone fundamental change, and our Chief Fire Officer and his leadership team have relentlessly committed themselves to that mission. This report is a testament to their work, and to the tireless efforts of everyone within GMFRS to keep our city-region safe and deliver a modern, professional, inclusive service.

“Dave, his senior team, our firefighters, and all of our support staff deserve every credit for the improvements they have driven. With their leadership, and the support and hard work of staff right across the service, GMFRS has turned a corner – and they will have our full backing as they continue on that path to even greater success.”


Image credit: iStock


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