Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) operates in many different ways, some you may not expect. Below is an explanation of what we do and some of the specialist equipment that we have available to us.

What we Do

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is part of the Community Protection Directorate of Hertfordshire County Council which is also the Fire and Rescue Authority.

Fire stations are strategically placed across the County which 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.

We also play 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.

We do not charge for dealing with fires or for providing assistance where human life is at risk. However, to ensure best value we do identify all requests for assistance where charges may be reasonably imposed, ensuring that the income from charges does not exceed the costs incurred. Examples of assistance where charges are often imposed include: removal of water from commercial premises; people shut in lifts; and people locked in or out.

We work closely with Hertfordshire communities to reduce the risk of fires and other emergencies occurring and work with a wide range of organisations to help prevent crime and disorder. This is done through a range of education and engagement initiatives including; home fire safety advice and guidance, arson reduction activities, youth engagement activities and targeted campaigns aimed at vulnerable groups.

We regulate 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. We also administer the licensing of premises for petroleum.

We investigate the cause and origin of fires in order to battle against arson and gain insight into the behaviour of fire to inform the way we manage fire risks and determine future fire prevention strategies. If evidence of arson is found, we work with the Police and other partners to help convict those responsible.

We are responsible for all public fire hydrants in the County and inspect and test these to ensure they are well maintained and operable. We also offer a chargeable service to inspect and test private fire hydrants.

How we Operate

HFRS provides a 24 hour emergency response service for fires, road traffic collisions and other serious incidents. We deliver a wide range of prevention and protection activities aimed at reducing fires and other incidents, including the enforcement of Fire Safety legislation. We currently employ around 800 operational staff, and 100 non-uniformed support staff based across the county at a number of locations including 29 fire stations, a training and development centre and our Service Headquarters in Hertford. You can find your local fire station click here.

Our Specialist Equipment

Fire Engines (Fire Appliances)

Total of 40 operational appliances strategically based at 29 locations across the County.

Dennis, MAN and Scania vehicles are currently in use, they carry between 1400 and 1800 litres of water and are capable of pumping 2000 litres per minute at 10 bar pressure.
Appliances are equipped with hydraulic rescue equipment for use at road traffic collisions as well as a range of other specialist equipment.

4x4 Off Road Vehicles

Location: Stevenage, Borehamwood, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Royston.

HFRS have 5 Ford Ranger 4x4 off road vehicles strategically based throughout the County; these vehicles are used at incidents when off road capability is required to transport personnel, equipment and resources to the scene of operation or during times of inclement weather.
The 4x4 vehicles have a towing capacity and can be used to transport water rescue equipment, the HFRS fuel bowser or other resources as required.

High Volume Pump (HVP)

Location: Welwyn Garden City

The HVP is a specialised piece of equipment that has the capability to pump large quantities of water over long distances. It has been used extensively at many wide area flooding incidents both locally and nationally. These units were also used to pump water for firefighting at the Buncefield fire in 2005.
The HVP is capable of pumping 7000 litres of water per minute and can pump water up to 3 kilometres.

Decontamination & Environmental Protection Unit (DEPU)

Location: Hemel Hempstead

This vehicle is mobilised to all incidents if hazardous materials are suspected to be involved.
The DEPU and its crew provide support, specialist equipment and expertise at incidents which pose a threat to firefighters, the general public or the environment.
Some of the equipment carried on the DEPU includes: gas tight suits, powered respirator suits, decontamination showers, environmental protection packs, oversized storage drums and portable gas detection monitors.

Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP)

Location: Watford and Stevenage

The ALP is a versatile vehicle which can be used for rescues from height or depth providing safe access up to a maximum of 32 metres above or 2.5 metres below ground and has a maximum out reach of 20 metres.
An ALP can also be used for firefighting and is often used at incidents where large quantities of water are applied to fight fire.

Incident Support Unit (ISU)

Location: Rickmansworth and Hitchin

ISUs consist of a demountable pod, with equipment stored in portable cages.
They are designed to be multi-functional, providing crews with enhanced equipment for use in the removal of water and smoke from premises, and additional equipment for salvage of property.
Equipment carried on the ISU includes: roofing sheets, various types of pumps, generators, portable lighting, building props, BA cylinders and additional firefighting hose.

Command Support Unit (CSU) and Enhanced Logistic Support (ELS)

Location: Hertford

The CSU is used at large scale incidents and is designed to provide up-to-the-minute information to the Incident Commander to assist with effective operational incident command.
The vehicle is equipped with I.T. facilities and has 3 pneumatic masts providing enhanced lighting, radio communications and CCTV capabilities.
The CSU has an integral 240v diesel generator providing power to all installations on board and is also designed to link in to an external power supply.
The CSU is also one of nine Enhanced Logistic Support (ELS) resources in the country. The ELS is crewed by a combination of full time and part time firefighters along with members of Fire Control.
ELS teams are used to Coordinate National Resilience assets such as HVP’s and IRU’s at Strategic Holding Areas (SHA). The ELS team coordinate and deploy National Assets on behalf of the affected Fire & Rescue Service for Level 4 National incidents.
All nine ELS teams are trained to the same level and are able to work independently or with another ELS team. ELS deployments are generally for protracted incidents such as wide area floods.

Rescue Support Unit (RSU)

Location: St Albans

The RSU is a custom built vehicle centrally located in the County equipped to deal with rescues requiring specialist or heavy duty equipment.
The vehicle regularly attends road traffic collisions, incidents involving light goods vehicles, large animal rescues, water rescues and other incidents where persons are trapped or specialist rescue equipment and additional lighting are required. The vehicle is also equipped to provide rescue equipment for incidents such as rail crashes.

Fire Investigation Dog

Location: Longfield, Stevenage

In order to assist fire investigations into the cause and origin of fire, a Fire Investigation Dog and handler is available.
This team assists in the detection of ignitable liquid traces or, conversely, confirm their absence to discount that possibility to assist in ascertaining the cause of ignition or spread of fire at an incident.

Specialist Rope Rescue

Location: Watford and Bishops Stortford

Fire Service operations occasionally include the requirement to rescue casualties from height, or depth, where access is limited or hazardous.
The teams are trained in the use of specialist equipment and are mobilised to assist fire crews to carry out safe rescues from height, shafts, sewers, wells, silos etc.

Water Rescue

Location: Hatfield

The specialist Water Rescue Team is centrally located and is mobilised to life threatening incidents involving water, ice and mud.
The team is used to rescue persons and animals, recover bodies and other objects, sometimes in hazardous, time critical situations; they also support crews and the Water Incident Liaison Officers.
The Water Rescue Team is equipped with a rescue boat, dry suits, floatation aids and inflatable paths and other specialist equipment.
The team also forms part of the National Asset Register for response to wide area flooding and other major incidents involving water.