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Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
|Chief Fire Officer||Dave Russel|
|Facilities and equipment|
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is the statutory emergency fire and rescue service for the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, England. It is part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
GMFRS covers an area of approximately 496 square miles (1,280 km2). The service has 41 fire stations which until 2006 were organised into three territorial Area Commands (South, East and West), each one with an Area Command Headquarters, based at Stretford, Rochdale and Bolton respectively. When the brigade altered the command area's structure they divided the three area commands from South, East and West to 11 Borough Commands, aligned to the 10 local authorities in the county: Bolton, Bury, Manchester (North/South), Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. The service employs 2,200 personnel, of which 1,200 are frontline firefighters, and 403 non-uniformed support staff.
The service was created when the county of Greater Manchester came into being in 1974. It had previously been called the Greater Manchester County Fire Service. The change in name reflects the growing number of roles the service now has, and many services across the United Kingdom are also changing their names to "Fire and Rescue Service". This change was inspired by new primary legislation for England and Wales, The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004.
The service was originally administered by the Greater Manchester County Council, but when this was abolished in 1986, administration of the service was taken over by a joint authority of the ten Metropolitan Boroughs of Greater Manchester, known as the "Fire and Rescue Authority". Five members are appointed by Manchester City Council, two each by Bury and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Councils, and three each by the other seven borough councils of Greater Manchester.
In 2017, the service came under considerable controversy on the night of the Manchester Arena bombing due to arriving two hours later than the police after the bombing. A report by Lord Bob Kerslake found that GMFRS deployed units only at 00:15 after conversation was overheard of armed police being sent in to scout the area one-and-a-half hours earlier. Then-Chief Fire Officer Peter O'Reilly apologised for the delay in response, although blaming the Greater Manchester Police for the delay, citing an "information vacuum" from the force and for not correctly liaising with the ambulance and fire services following the bombing.
The service, alongside the Lancashire fire service, were among the first responders to the Saddleworth Moor fire on 24 June 2018, managing to extinguish the fire on the same day, a normal event said to happen on the moor on a hot summer's day, but because of the heatwave starving the land of rain and thus drying the peat, the fire reignited on the next day, soon burning out of control, and following a declaration of a major incident the day after that, requiring the evacuation of 50 houses nearby. With the service having never fought a moorland fire on the scale of this fire, mutual aid was sought out from seven other fire services across the north of England, including Cumbria, Tyne and Wear, Nottinghamshire, Humberside and Warwickshire, and following a request from assistant chief fire officer Dave Keelan, military assistance came to help extinguish the wildfire, of which it eventually was declared three weeks later on 18 July. A similar fire on Winter Hill, north of Bolton in Lancashire, breaking out on 28 June and being declared under control on 16 July, a merger of two previous wildfires that directly threatened, but never affected a transmitting station on the hill, was also responded to by both the Greater Manchester and Lancashire services.
- The official street address is given as Swinton, but the premises are in neighbouring Pendlebury The Control facility has now moved to North West Fire Control in Warrington
- The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, Pub TSO, (accessed 19 Oct 2006)
- Local Government Act 1985 (1985 c.51), schedule 10, part II
- "Manchester Arena bombing: Fire service arrived two hours late, says report". 27 March 2018.
- "Former Greater Manchester fire chief blames police for brigade's delayed response to the Arena attack". 20 August 2018.
- "Everything we know about the Saddleworth Moor fire so far". 27 June 2018.
- "Firefighters from seven counties fight Greater Manchester moor fires". July 2018.
- "This is why Winter Hill is so important". 30 June 2018.
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