The area served by Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service forms part of the South East region and is shown in red.
Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service serves a population of about 785,000 in the South East of England. The area stretches from the outskirts of London to the South Midlands. It comprises the four districts of Buckinghamshire – Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe – and Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes is the northernmost part of the area, bordering the East of England and the East Midlands. It is one of the fastest-growing places in England. Since 1971, its population has risen from 67,000 to around 262,000. During the same period, the population of the rest of Buckinghamshire has risen from 404,000 to around 522,000.
Government plans for housing in the region could see tens of thousands of new homes built in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes over the next 25 years or so, with most of this development taking place in Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale.
The area served by Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service includes stretches of the M1, M4, M25 and M40 motorways, a section of the West Coast Main Line, several miles of the River Thames, part of the Silverstone motor racing circuit and Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. Heathrow and Luton airports lie just outside the area.
A large part of the south of Buckinghamshire falls within the Metropolitan Green Belt and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although many parts of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes enjoy the affluence associated with the Home Counties, there are pockets of deprivation throughout the area.
Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service receives around 16,000 calls for assistance every year, of which about 7,000 are emergency incidents. It has 42 frontline and specialist fire and rescue vehicles and four Urban Search and Rescue vehicles.
The Chief Fire Officer is Jason Thelwell, who is supported by a management board comprising directors and officers.
More than 400 firefighters operate from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's 20 fire stations, sometimes responding to 999 calls while they are out and about doing community safety work. There are three fire safety offices - Aylesbury (covering Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Districts), Broughton (covering Milton Keynes) and Marlow (covering Wycombe and South Bucks Districts).
An interim Urban Search and Rescue facility opened in Beaconsfield (South Bucks) in November 2005. It moved to Aylesbury in March 2009. Urban Search and Rescue is part of the Government’s New Dimensions programme, which is made up of a series of projects that enhance the resilience and security of our communities. Changing political and environmental conditions mean that we need to be ready to tackle major incidents such as terrorist attacks, serious transport accidents and natural disasters.
Fighting fires is only part of the work of the present-day fire and rescue service. Releasing people trapped in vehicles after road traffic collisions, dealing with chemical spills and fitting smoke alarms in people’s homes make up an increasing proportion of our work. Our operational crews have therefore changed the focus of their work to help prevent emergency incidents from happening in the first place.
Our community safety team includes officers who work in partnership with local statutory and voluntary organisations at a range of locations throughout the county.
More than 100 people work in a variety of support services, including teams in risk assessment, vehicle workshops, finance, human resources and corporate planning..
The service is overseen by Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority, whose membership is drawn from Buckinghamshire County Council (12 members) and Milton Keynes Council (five members). It has an annual net revenue budget of around £28 million.
The members, led by the Chairman, Councillor Adrian Busby, are committed to the development and modernisation of the service. Five members have lead responsibility over a number of specific areas of work, including partnership working, community safety, human resources and equality.