Fire Brigades Union (Berkshire)

Fire Brigades Union (Berkshire)

February 14, 2011 08:06 ET

FBU Raises Concerns Over Royal Berkshire Fire Authority Budget Proposals

BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 14, 2011) - The proposed budget for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be discussed at the Management Committee meeting of the Fire Authority to be held on Monday 14th February.

If approved the budget will proceed to a meeting of the full Fire Authority for final approval on Thursday 17th February. Among the proposals to cut £1,480,000 from the service budget over the next year are:

  • A reduction of the number of fire engines responding to Automatic Fire Alarms (AFA)- If an AFA call develops into a fire situation the reduced or delayed attendance will limit crews in the actions they can take to save life and prevent the fire spreading. 
  • Changes to the Response to Low Risk Incidents in rural station areas - this will involve the removal of retained appliances responding to low risk calls in their own station area and will see a full-time fire engine being sent from further afield. This will leave both rural and urban areas vulnerable should the incident escalate or an incident occurs elsewhere.
  • The reduction in the number of Officers – this will result in 27% less operational officers and will impact on command and control of incidents and the overall resilience of the service.
  • Shared crewing of the Heavy Rescue Unit (HRU) based at Newbury - this will see the loss of 12 posts at Newbury fire station and would see the HRU being jointly crewed by the crew of Newbury's full-time fire engine. Delays in emergency responses to house fires and road traffic collisions in the West Berkshire area could be encountered as a result of the HRU being deployed.

Maurice Whyte, FBU Berkshire Brigade Chair:

"These wide ranging budget proposals greatly concern FBU members in Berkshire. If implemented they will have a detrimental impact on the safety of the communities that we serve. Delayed and reduced attendances to house fires and road traffic collisions are possible as a result of the additional pressure on front-line resources.

"The Fire Authority should produce a risk management plan that decides the level of service that it delivers to the public. FBU members fear that the Fire Authority is using the budget proposals to bring in cuts without a proper risk assessment on their impact upon public safety."

Notes for editors:

Details of the proposed budget can be found at:

http://www.fbuberkshire.co.uk/2011/02/03/rbfrs-draft-budget-proposals-201112/

Meeting details:-

Management Committee meeting – Monday 14th February 2011 at 7.30pm at The Civic Centre, Reading, RG1 7TD.

Full Fire Authority meeting - Thursday 17th February 2011 at 6.30pm at Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2DL.

Contact Information

  • Maurice Whyte
    07917 965867
    or
    Mark Stollery
    07917 065868