South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue chiefs are reviewing their own response targets - which they have never met.
The brigade has not achieved its target of attending 80 per cent of ‘life-threatening’ incidents in six minutes since the benchmark was set in 2006.
The closest it came was the year the target was set, when the brigade met the benchmark 64 per cent of the time. Last year, the target was met 55 per cent of the time.
But fire bosses said the number of deaths and injuries recorded has fallen from 158 in 2006 to 50 in 2012.
And the number of 999 calls received has gone down, from 42,835 in 2009 to 29,425 in 2012 - something the force claims is down to preventative work.
A fire service spokesman said: “Our current response time target was set in 2006. We believe it is the most challenging such target in the country, and we have been unable to meet it.”
“However, in that time, the number of emergency calls to us has halved, and the number of fire deaths and injuries has gone down by two-thirds.”
“Effective fire prevention, and the fitting and testing of smoke alarms, are more important in keeping people safe.”