Cheshire has been recognised as a leading fire and rescue service in the country at a major national awards ceremony.

The organisation won "Fire Service of the Year" at the inaugural Emergency Services Awards held at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Thursday April, 7. Judges said that Cheshire had demonstrated exceptional all round performance and particularly praised its effectiveness at protecting local communities which has seen staff visit over 300,000 homes to give out vital safety advice and fit free smoke alarms.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock said: "I am obviously delighted that Cheshire has won such a prestigious award and title.

"This is a just reward for the hard work and dedication of staff throughout our service. It reflects not only on the effectiveness of our fire safety prevention programmes but also only the professionalism of our emergency response."

Fire Authority Chair David Topping added: "This is thoroughly deserved and reflects the pride and commitment demonstrated evident from everyone connected with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service whether they are a firefighter, part of the support services, a volunteer or one of the Authority Members."

The service's key achievements over the past five years include:

· Fire-related injuries down from 133 in 2004-05 to 37 in 2009-10

· Accidental house fires down from 675 to 470

· Fires in businesses cut from 668 to 243

· Arson attacks reduced from 1,398 to 580

· Delivery of over 300,000 Home Safety Assessments - 65% of properties of all homes in Cheshire.

The award was presented to Mr. Hancock and Fire Authority Vice Chair Graham Smith by BBC presenter Nicholas Owen in a ceremony at the Emirates Stadium. As well as the main Fire Service of the Year award, Cheshire was also commended in the Fire Service Innovation category and the Public Communication section. The Emergency Services Awards are supported by the British Fire Services Association, the Association of Police Authorities and the Ambulance Service Network.


Posted: 11.07am, 15.04.11,