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What do the fire service do? Hero Squad profile

Firefighters fighting fireGetty Images

The brand new CBBC series Hero Squad takes six children and sends them on a tough training programme alongside real-life lifesavers - from coastguards and lifeboat workers to firefighters and mountain rescuers.

One of them is the fire service. Here's a quick guide to who they are and what they do.

Who are they?

In the UK there are more than 50,000 firefighters: it's their job to prevent fires from happening - and to try to put them out if they do break out.

Some firefighters work full-time and others are what's called 'retained'. Retained means being a firefighter is their second job and they have special permission from their employers to leave work if they're needed.

Retained fire fighters are often used in rural areas and have to be able to get to the fire station within 5 minutes.

Firefighters are based in more than 2,000 stations all around the UK where their equipment and fire engines are kept.

What do they do?

It's not just fighting fires that keeps the fire service busy. In fact, it's just one part of their job. They also:

  • Prevent fire and accidents from happening;
  • Make sure people are aware of fire hazards and how to stay safe by visiting schools, communities and people in their own homes;
  • Give people advice about planning escape routes in their homes, workplaces and schools in case of a fire;
  • Respond to road, rail and air traffic accidents as well as fires in homes, buildings and open spaces;
  • Clean up chemical spills and floods;
  • Help to defend the UK against terrorism.