Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is part of the Community Protection Directorate of Hertfordshire County Council, which is also the Fire and Rescue Authority. There are three towns, which have between 50,000 and 100,000 residents: Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage and Watford, and the similarly populous city of St Albans.
29 fire stations are strategically placed across the county to provide a swift and effective 24/7 emergency response to extinguish fires, with the aim of protecting life and property, rescue people from road traffic collisions, water and height, and deal with other emergencies such as wide-area flooding, chemical incidents and large animal rescues. The service also plays a major role in civil protection, working in partnership with other public bodies and private sector organisations to ensure an integrated approach to dealing with large-scale civil emergencies such as terrorist attacks and major rail or air accidents.
The service regulates the built environment to protect life, property and the environment from fire. This is done through a risk-based inspection and enforcement regime for residential, commercial and industrial buildings to ensure compliance with statutory requirements and to advise the business community on how to reduce the risk from fire. It also administers the licensing of premises for petroleum. It investigates the cause and origin of fires in order to battle against arson and gain insight into the behaviour of fire to inform the way it manages fire risks and determine future fire prevention strategies. If evidence of arson is found the service works with the police and other partners to help convict those responsible.
For over 160 years, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has independently assessed and reported on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and policing, in the public interest.
In summer 2017, HMIC (now HMICFRS) took on inspections of England’s fire & rescue services, assessing and reporting on their efficiency, effectiveness and leadership.