Monday, 17 February 2014

Have your say on 'Changing the Service – shaping our future'



East Sussex Fire Authority wants your views on a series of proposals which could change the way the Service meets the needs of the community in the face of funding cuts.

A public consultation will open on 17 February 2014 and can be found at www.esfrs.org/changingtheservice/

It will remain open until Monday 28 April 2014. The findings of the consultation will be considered at a Fire Authority meeting in June 2014.

Fire Authority Chairman Phil Howson said:

“We need to hear from the community we serve in order to help inform our debate. The usual reaction when considering emergency services is to be against change but there are very good reasons for us looking at how we work.

The community needs have changed – we have significantly fewer call outs now than in previous years. This is in part due to the success of our work in preventing fires and other emergencies. We are also facing cuts in our budgets. Last July we put this at a figure of £7.1 million over the next five years. These two factors together make it the right time to look at how we deliver services in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove to make sure that the right options are pursued.”

The proposals

The proposals focus on keeping all current fire stations open, while adjusting working practises to make the most of financial resources and deliver the response needed by those in the area.

Proposal 1

Brighton has three fire stations: Hove, Preston Circus and Roedean.

We are proposing to remove a fire engine from either Preston Circus or Hove. This means we continue to base four fire engines in the City which are crewed 24 hours a day. In addition, we provide an aerial ladder platform which can reach people in high rise buildings.

The provision of this appliance will be reviewed in 2014/15.

This change would have no significant impact on life risk and attendance standards would still be met. This would mean a reduction in 24 posts (4 of these posts would be reduced through the introduction of Locality Managers).

If fully implemented, it would save us £1.066 million by 2018/19.

Proposal 2 a or b

These proposals are based on an “either/or” basis – only one would need to be implemented to make savings.

Proposal 2a

Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a new Day Crewed Duty System. The station could then provide cover 7 days a week instead of 5, giving more support for Hastings.

We would therefore be able to remove the Retained Duty System fire engine from The Ridge Fire Station in Hastings. This attends a low number of calls and so removing it is predicted to have no significant impact on Service performance.

If fully implemented, this would save us £14,000 by 2018/19.

Proposal 2b

Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a retained duty system. This would reduce the number of Wholetime posts at Battle by 9.

This would mean both fire engines are kept at The Ridge in Hastings. Battle has a low number of calls and analysis shows there would be no significant impact on Service performance.

If fully implemented, this could save £200,000 by 2018/19.

Proposal 3

Introduce “Day Crewed Plus” at Roedean fire station in Brighton and The Ridge fire station in Hastings, both currently Wholetime stations.

“Day Crewed Plus” would be a new way of working for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and is successfully used by other fire and rescue services across England. It means that firefighters stay in accommodation provided by us on site on a self rostering system.

They are therefore still ready to turn out 24 hours a day. This option would mean we could save money by reducing posts but it would not affect attendance times.

This would reduce the number of posts by 20 (8 of these posts would be reduced through the introduction of Locality Managers).

This would save the Service £432,000 by 2018/19.

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