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Firefighters' average response time is 11.5 minutes
Is your house on fire? The Belgian fire brigade will be with you in, on average, 11 minutes and 25 seconds, the latest stats reveal.
The average response time, published in the General Directorate of Civil Security's 2019 annual report, is about 30 seconds slower than the previous year, when it was 10 minutes and 53 seconds.
It typically takes about four-and-a-half minutes from receiving an emergency call to the first fire engine being dispatched. The journey time then averages seven minutes.
There are, naturally, big differences between urban and rural areas. In Luxembourg province, the average wait for firefighters to reach the scene is 16 minutes. The longest wait is in the Dinant area, at 16 minutes 49 seconds.
In Brussels, the average response time in 2019 was eight minutes and 26 seconds - about 20 seconds slower than the previous year.
There are no rules fixing how fast the fire brigade should be on site. A draft bill proposed during a recent reform of the fire department had suggested a 12 minute response time, but it was never adopted.
Fighting a fire is the second most common reason for the fire brigade to be called out in Belgium. Some 58% of callouts are instead classified as "rescue and technical interventions".
These include rescuing people who are stranded, trapped or otherwise in danger, but also caring for dangerous animals and callouts relating to storm damage and flooding.