Proposals that could see six of Nottinghamshire’s fire stations’ services reduced to just one fire engine will put the public’s lives at risk, according to fire fighters.
The fire service are looking at reducing the number of fire engines at four of its stations and closing two of its other stations – in Warsop and Collingham – in order to meet a £2.4 million shortfall in government funding.
The stations that will downgrade from two engines to one include Nottingham Central, Mansfield, Stockhill and Highfields.
“The final cut will put people’s lives at risk.” – Sean McCallum, Chairman – Nottinghamshire Fire Brigades Union.
Sean McCallum, chairman of the Nottinghamshire Fire Brigades Union, believes that the cuts will have a negative impact.
“The fewer fire engines there are, the longer it takes for an engine to get to an incident, and that is the crux of the matter for us in terms of safety.
“If, for example, there was a house fire in Mansfield with someone trapped inside, at the minute we would mobilise three fire engines.
“Under the current proposals there will only be one fire engine in Mansfield – so the other two engines would have to come from Sutton-in Ashfield and Edwinstowe.
“What you are looking at there is a considerable increase in the travel time for the other two vehicles to get there.”
Sean McCallum of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue believes that the latest round of cuts will put lives at risk.
The Fire Budget
The Fire Budget sees income for the county standing at £43 Million and the proposals are looking to make savings of £2.4 million.
The new system is being trialled for 3 months to gauge how effective it will be, and to gather public opinion.
The consultation process will be supported by independent research company Opinion Research Services to collect views of the public, representative bodies and partner organisations.
A number of changes have already been made in previous years, including reducing the number of managers by 25% and lowering the number of fire engines from 36 to 32.
However, the service is still facing a shortfall of £2.4 million between the years of 2015 and 2017.
“…the deficit…leaves the service with no option…” – Darrell Pulk, Chair of the Fire Authority.
Chair of the Fire Authority Darrell Pulk said “The Service has already made some significant savings in recent years, by reducing the number of managers it has and realigning frontline resources to the meet the demands of a changing environment.
“But there is still work to be done and the deficit it now faces leaves the Service with no option but to once again review how it delivers services to the people of Nottinghamshire.”
Chief Fire Officer John Buckley added, “In recent years the Service has worked extremely hard to prevent incidents from occurring and to ensure that our communities are safer than they have ever been.
“As part of this latest review, we have, once again, examined areas of risk and made proposals based on aligning our resources to where they are needed most.
“Keeping our communities safe remains our number one priority, and we will continue to do our best to provide a first class service to the public whilst making the necessary changes to meet the financial challenges ahead.”
However Sean McCallum believes the public deserves a fully funded fire service.
Sean McCallum says the fire service needs to be fully funded.
The trial period began on Monday and will run for 12 weeks. The consultation document can be accessed via the service’s website.