Our history

A brief history of Avon Fire & Rescue Services’(AF&RS) evolving role in keeping our communities safe.

After The Second World War, the provision of fire cover for the local population became the responsibility of local authorities (such as city and district councils). For many years firefighting in our area came under the remit of the County of Avon, and the fire service was known as Avon Fire Brigade.

The beginning of Avon Fire and Rescue Service

The County of Avon was abolished in 1996 and replaced by four smaller, more localised councils – Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council. With Avon Fire Authority covering an area of the four separate councils, a combined fire authority was formed to ensure the best interests of council taxpayers in the four areas was represented.

To better reflect the changing role of fire brigades, the Fire and Rescue Services Act was passed in 2004, leading Avon to change its name to Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS).

The modern firefighter

Today, firefighters spend their time working within the community to help people to reduce their risk from fire. Educational visits, home fire safety visits, extensive training and recruitment new firefighters are just some of the many roles that firefighters play in the community. 

As well as significant prevention work, firefighters continue to tackle fires and their training must reflect the evolving risks within society today, such as the recent increase in electric vehicles and eScooters which pose a significant risk to fires and the community.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service today

Avon Fire & Rescue Service provides emergency and protection services to the communities of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

We are committed to providing a safer place for people to live, work and visit across an area of 134,753 hectares and a population of over one million.

While firefighting has traditionally been at the forefront of our work, the role of a modern fire and rescue service has increased to cover the core functions of ‘preventing’, ‘protecting’ and ‘responding’.

A lot of our work now focuses on how we can prevent accidents and emergencies happening in the first place, as we believe this is the best way to protect our communities. We do this by providing advice and education through events, visits, campaigns and partnership working.

Alongside this work we also provide a ‘999’ response service to a range of incidents and emergencies from road traffic collisions and fires to flooding and chemical spills. We work closely with the other emergency services, as well as external agencies.

As a modern fire and rescue service, we don’t just employ operational staff, but also corporate staff in a range of professional, technical and administrative roles that are essential to ensuring the effective running of the service.

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