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Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Annual Report 2020-2021 – Rising to the challenges of COVID while continuing to invest in protection and prevention

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has released their Annual Report and Statement of Assurance for 2020 – 2021. The report highlights the Service’s success in adapting to COVID and supporting the Essex wide response while continuing to invest in protection and prevention.

Covering data from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, headlines offer an insight into the huge amount of work Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) has achieved during another challenging year.  

ECFRS attended 14,339 incidents from April 2020 to March 2021; that’s down from 15,243 the previous year, with the total number of incidents attended by the Service decreasing consistently over the last four years.

Prevention and protection continued to be a priority, and over the last year the Service has found different ways to provide these vital services. During the pandemic, the team adapted to government guidelines to ensure visits to the homes of the most vulnerable people in Essex took place while wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). In 2020/21, the Prevention team carried out 4,346 home fire safety visits to vulnerable people in Essex where they fitted 5,865 smoke alarms including 753 sensory alarms. The team also supplied 1,349 smoke alarms during doorstep deliveries for people without working smoke alarms in their home during the pandemic.

As more people were staying at home, the fire service saw an increase in accidental dwelling fires, as well as garden fires. In fact, April 2020 saw an increase of garden fires by almost 100% compared to the same month in 2019 and 2018. Alongside this increase, there was a decrease in road traffic collisions in the first wave of the pandemic and national lockdown.

Reaching school-aged children has also been a priority, and ECFRS’s education team moved their education hub online. All schools were contacted to make them aware of the education offer available, resulting in 20,576 pupils still receiving education advice.

ECFRS’s digital channels continue to be a key tool when informing the public about safety and incident information, with 1.5million website views since the beginning of the year, alongside 8,800 messages received through social media channels.

The Protection team completed 7,202 jobs in 2020/21, this includes 319 full audits and 2,293 desktop audits against premises. 99.6% of statutory consultations received were responded to within 15 working days by the team.

In addition to their day-job, ECFRS colleagues always work above and beyond, and the pandemic has been no exception. The Service stepped up, stepped in, and has been there for their communities and partners.

ECFRS was one of the first Services to provide firefighters as ambulance drivers – with 19 on-call firefighters providing thousands of hours of support. ECFRS even went one step further and trained other drivers using their own training team.

Staff from across the Service also delivered essential items to vulnerable people, helped move PPE to where it was needed and set up community hospitals. The Service set up vaccination centres and staff were trained to be able to administer vaccinations.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said:

“The last year has been an incredibly challenging one with the global pandemic affecting us all in some way. Throughout this difficult time, ECFRS has continued to be there when the public needs it and have gone above and beyond for their communities. Even while dealing with these new challenges the Service has continued to deliver against its priorities such as prevention and protection, kept its people safe, and has played a key leadership role in the Essex Resilience Forum, and supporting other organisations to keep Essex residents safe.”

Rick Hylton, Chief Fire Officer/ Chief Executive said: 

“It’s been another year like no other, but our Service has continued to deliver a reliable and sustainable fire and rescue service that our communities can be proud of. We’ve continued to provide prevention, protection and response services across the county. We will always be there when you need us.

The pandemic has shown us that risks can present themselves in different ways, and our work with the Essex Resilience Forum, alongside our robust business continuity plans and our approach to budgeting has meant that we were prepared, maintained our core services and put the welfare of our staff at the heart of our decisions and activities.”

If you would like to read the Annual Report in full please visit Annual Reports (

If you’re interested in joining Essex County Fire and Rescue Service visit to see all current vacancies  

If you’d like to stay up to date with news from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service you can sign up to an online newsletter by visiting 


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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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