Fire Brigades Union Essex

Fire Brigades Union Essex

January 11, 2011 14:06 ET

Essex Fire Chiefs Propose Worst Ever Cuts to Frontline 999 Services Despite Better Than Expected Central Government Funding

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Jan. 11, 2011) - Despite welcome news of a near standstill funding settlement from central government for Essex fire & rescue service, details are emerging of a range of frontline cuts being planned by fire chiefs that will see around 100 fewer wholetime firefighters and fire officers serving in Essex (a 12% cut) in year one which will directly affect fire stations frontline staffing levels at Canvey Island, Brentwood, Orsett, Loughton, Clacton and Rayleigh Weir. There are also serious concerns over the future proposed crewing system for the four stations currently served by the Day Crewing model at Dovercourt, Waltham Abbey, South Woodham Ferrers, Great Baddow and the implications this may have on the dedicated Firefighters and their families who live in the brigade houses attached to these stations.

These proposed cuts are even bigger than the front line cuts made in the last two years that have already seen professional firefighter numbers and professional specialist rescue crews cut upon the introduction of new crewing arrangements at Colchester, Grays, Harlow, Chelmsford and Southend for the Aerial Ladder Platforms and Rescue Tenders. The one ray of sunshine is the longer term proposal to eventually increase fire & rescue cover in the north of the County by introducing one wholetime fire crew at Dunmow albeit by reducing the number of local professionally trained and dedicated retained fire crews.

Mick Rogers, Essex FBU Secretary:

"These cuts fall short of the Armageddon scenario senior managers had spent the last few months warning us all of, but they still represent the biggest frontline cuts ever seen in the history of Essex fire & rescue service. We haven't seen the detailed rationale behind the proposals and so its too early for us to comment on the real impact these proposals will have on real professionally trained firefighters serving at real fire stations and who respond to real 999 calls whenever they occur. We now expect a significant consultation exercise to be embarked upon by the Fire Authority to provide the opportunity for all key stakeholders and the public to provide a response to the proposed front line cuts. We are yet to measure the impact this will have on members of the public but any reduction in frontline resources will invariably be to the detriment of those requiring our 999 services."

"The initial response we have received from fire crews on the frontline is a feeling of a perverse reprieve. One member has described it as feeling a little like being confronted by a mugger who demands you hand over £50 in cash, but who then only takes a twenty pound note – you feel like you've been let off lightly but in reality you've still been mugged!"

The union will consider the proposals in detail and consult with members across the County before responding formally to the proposals.

Contact Information

  • Mick Rogers
    07967 023709
    Mark Kinsalla
    07967 720363
    Nick Mayes
    07896 850589