This page will help clarify some of the terms you may see on our website or in our published documents.

Appliance – the general term used to describe all firefighting vehicles, including the standard fire engine or pumping appliance.

Community risk - the risk of unwanted events that might occur in the community, which Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service aims to reduce. Includes fires, road traffic accidents and other incidents that the Service might respond to.

Co-responders - on-call firefighters who receive enhanced training and respond to medical emergencies in their communities in support of the ambulance service.

Emergency Response Standard - a risk-based target for response times and the number of staff to attend all relevant emergency incidents in Devon and Somerset.

Gaining entry - an initiative where firefighters assist the ambulance service to get into properties where they suspect there is an unconscious or unresponsive casualty inside.

Hazmat – hazardous materials like chemicals, fuel spillages, substances that can cause harm to persons and or the environment.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services - the body that independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of the police and fire service.

Incident - an event requiring fire service assistance.

National resilience – the National Resilience Programme was introduced in 2003 to strengthen the country’s ability to handle emergencies and crises. The national resilience assets are owned by the fire and rescue services that host them. Servicing of the vehicles and procurement of equipment for them is managed centrally. The programme delivers:

  • mass decontamination
  • urban search and rescue
  • high volume pumping capacity
  • operational logistics and support
  • long term capability management.

On-call - firefighters recruited to be available on call close to their local fire station for a certain minimum number of hours per week, plus regular training. They carry an alerter to call them to the fire station when an incident happens in their area. Many have other employment or a lifestyle that enables them to commit a certain number of hours per week to be on call.

Operational risk - the risk of unwanted events that might occur to the Service while carrying out its operations. Includes firefighter occupational accidents or illness.

Prevention – activity associated with fire safety in the home and community.

Primary fire - fires in buildings, vehicles and outdoor structures.

Protection – sometimes referred to as ‘Business Safety’. This activity is linked to the advice and guidance for regulated premises and enforcement of the Regulatory Reform Order 2005.

Resilience – the ability to respond to major or larger incidents whilst maintaining the core service provision. This is made possible through effective emergency planning and flexible resource arrangements.

Risk analysis – the process of examining in detail the risks that could affect the communities in Devon and Somerset.

Road traffic collision - an incident involving vehicles on the highway.

Secondary fire - the majority of outdoor fires, including grassland and refuse fires.

Wholetime – operational staff immediately available while on duty.