East Sussex Fire Authority has agreed proposals to change the Service in the face of funding cuts.
Members met on 5 June 2014 to discuss the findings of a consultation which ran between 17 February and 28 April. It sought feedback on three proposals.
Chairman of the Fire Authority Phil Howson said: “Like many public services we are facing the challenge of needing to change the way we work. Funding has been reduced and we have considered options carefully to find ways of maintaining our response standards. All members of the Fire Authority take their responsibilities very seriously and the outcome of this meeting was reached after robust debate and discussion.”
The following proposals were discussed:
Proposal 1: Proposal 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.
Decision: This was agreed 10 votes to 8
Proposal 2 a or b: These proposals were based on an “either/or” basis.
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. Battle would retain both its pumps.
We will therefore be able to remove the Retained Duty System fire engine from The Ridge Fire Station in Hastings.
Proposal 2b - Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a retained duty system. Battle would become a one-pump retained station and the Ridge in Hastings would remain a two-pump station (one retained - one wholetime). Battle has a low number of calls and analysis shows there would be no significant impact on Service performance.
Decision: An amended version of 2a was approved by 11 votes to 7 – specifically to utilise some of the savings from the removal of the retained appliance at The Ridge Fire Station to provide a limited number of competent retained personnel at Battle Fire Station to make up a full crew of firefighters or Junior Officers at Battle.
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.
Decision: This was agreed 12 votes to 6
What happens next
There is no immediate change.
The proposals which have been agreed will need further work, including consultation with staff and representative bodies where appropriate.