Website Accessibility

Our website accessibility statement doubles up as our website accessibility policy.  This page provides all the information you should need to use our website effectively.

Our commitment to accessibility

The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) website and associated microsites aim to be accessible to everyone – TWFRS strive to ensure that the sites meet the AA standard of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. 

The website was independently audited for accessibility in January 2010 and will continue to be internally assessed each year to ensure all content and features remain accessible to all, using relevant tools and the WCAG guidelines. 

Every two years from 2011 the website will undergo testing by users with disabilities to ensure that the accessibility work results in a website that is fully accessible when put to test.  This work will take place in conjunction with the Community Engagement Team and include asking users to perform tasks, find pages and provide feedback using a mixture of assistive technologies such as screen readers. 

The TWFRS website and associated external and internal sites are run on a content management system called EasySite that is being continuously improved and tested for web accessibility.  

While TWFRS web standards are geared towards providing a totally accessible site, it is often hard to make every page validate 100% so please contact us if you encounter any problems which affect your enjoyment of the website.

Accessibility features

Features of the site that have been designed with accessibility in mind include:  

  • Information is set out to enable screen-reader to read the content – including correctly ordered and formatted headers, bulleted lists and correctly marked-up data tables. Images have alternative text describing what is in the image – unless the image is used for decorative effect only – with long descriptions used for images that convey a lot of information.

  • Videos used on the site have captions and text transcription available - this is explained in detail whenever a video is used.

  • The site’s Hyper Text Mark-Up Language (HTML – the written code that makes up the website) and the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS – the code that determines the style of the sites) are valid according to the World Wide Web Consortium’s automated checks. Some exceptions do occur in the site due to presentation but we try to negotiate this by providing alternative links.
  • Our site content is separated from presentational elements, which makes it available to any visitors that use technologies such as a screen reader or text only browser.
  • Users can use the Tab key to navigate all links on the site and the access keys feature to access certain parts of the website using the keyboard – find out how to set your own access keys.
  • Users can increase and decrease text size – more information is available on our text size page.
  • The print friendly nature of the site means pages can be printed without any heading or navigation shown.
  • A text-only version of the site is available.


Which sections of the website may not be accessible?

The following issues have been identified and, while they may not have an impact on the site's conformance with conforming to AA accessibility guidelines, each one is being investigated to see how we can make the site more accessible.  Please contact us if any of these issues are causing you problems when accessing the site: 

  • The TWFRS website is not currently optimised for mobile phone use and therefore may be difficult to browse using a handheld device. This is to be investigated in 2016/17

  • TWFRS does not currently allow visitors to download videos for viewing on their own PCs - all videos are instead embedded onto the site.  For visitors that do not have javascript enabled, this means they may not be able to view the video. 

  • 'Inline Styling' is used throughout the site to present information.  This could potentially interfere with users' own use of personal stylesheets.  However, the website should still be accessible to all regardless of this so no fix is scheduled.

  • When navigating to a deep level within our site, our left-hand navigation does not show the links from a few levels above.  However this is consistent throughout the site and the 'breadcrumb' links at the top of the page can take the user back through the levels – therefore no fix is scheduled.


If you come across any other aspect of the site which causes you any problems please contact us.  Your feedback is vital to ensure the site is as accessible as possible.

Accessibility testing

Samples of up to 30 website pages are audited as part of the accessibility testing and we choose a varied range of pages within different sections and with different features to capture the widest-possible selection.  However some pages may cause problems that have not been identified – if you come across a page or section of our website which is causing you problems, please let us know using the website feedback form and this will be addressed. 

Every two years from 2011 the website will undergo testing by disabled users to ensure that our accessibility work results in a website that is fully accessible when put to test. 

Our site on web browsers

The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service web-site has been designed to work in web browsers on both PC and Apple Mac including: - 

  • Internet Explorer 4.0 and above

  • Mozilla 1.0 and above

  • Opera 3.5 and above

  • Netscape 4.0 and above. 

In addition, a 'Low Graphics' version of the site can be viewed by clicking the 'Low Graphics' link located at the top of every page.

Alternative Languages

The site includes some fire safety guidance in Bengali, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, French, Hindi, Kurdish, Urdu, Portuguese and Punjabi and links to a site called ‘BabelFish’ to change the site’s language to various other languages.  Visit the alternative languages page for more information.

Changing the Text Size

To alter the text size across this site, select the magnifying glass (located at the top left of every page) with a  +  to increase the font size or the magnifying glass with a  to decrease it.

 Alternatively, most browsers allow you to resize the text on a web-site through the browsers own menu systems: -

Internet Explorer 4:

Choose: View > Internet Options > Accessibility and check the 'Ignore font sizes specified on web pages' and then click 'OK' and 'OK' to apply the changes.  From then on, you can alter the text size choosing: View> Text Size followed by the text size you wish to use.

Internet Explorer (version 5+):

Choose: Tools > Internet Options > Accessibility and check the 'Ignore font sizes specified on web pages' option and then click 'OK' and 'OK' to apply the changes.  From then on, you can alter the text size choosing: View> Text Size followed by the text size you wish to use.


Zoom the contents of a document (text and images) from 20% to 1000% either from the drop-down zoom box at the top of the browser or by simply pressing '+' to zoom in or '-' to zoom out.  

You can also alter the font size and colour by choosing: File > Preferences > Fonts and colors.  Change the fonts and colours of the text, links, background and minimum text size to those that you wish to use.


Select: Tools > Options > General > Fonts & Colors.  You can then select a minimum font size to be used on screen so as the text on any pages that you look at will be displayed in a font no smaller than that specified.  Press 'OK' to apply the changes.

If you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, many browsers will also allow you to 'zoom' and increase/decrease the text size on the page by pressing the 'Ctrl' key and rotating your mouses scroll wheel.

Report an accessibility problem

To report an issue that you encounter that relates to your access and enjoyment of the site please use our contact form and select 'website feedback' as the subject of your message.  Your query will be dealt with as soon as possible.

Further guidance

Further guidance on accessibility can be found on the following websites: