Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

February 07, 2010 19:01 ET

Norfolk Fire Crews Are Warning That Frontline Cuts Will Put the Public and Firefighters at Greater Risk

NORFOLK, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 8, 2010) -

MEDIA RELEASE: Embargoed 00.01 February 8

Norfolk fire crews are warning that frontline cuts will put the public and firefighters at greater risk. The Fire Brigades Union say Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service propose to reduce emergency response fire cover in Norfolk to save £1.5 million between 2011 and 2014.

Jamie Wyatt, Norfolk FBU Brigade Secretary said: "These proposals are at a very early stage but they have still come as a very big shock to local fire crews. We are still assessing the full impact of the proposals but it is clear that they will mean a large reduction to emergency fire cover in Norfolk which will put firefighters and the public at greater risk."

The proposals are presented in a complex and technical way but the union believes their impact will in reality mean the loss of 8 front line fire engines. Some stations would see the number of fire engines available halved.

Cut the number of wholetime fire crews and fire engines covering Norwich from four to three.

Cut one of the two wholetime fire crews and fire engines covering Great Yarmouth.

Cut all the retained firefighters at Gorleston and replace them with a wholetime crew.

Cut 2 retained firefighters by replacing one full-size fire engine with smaller vehicles at:

Sandringham;
Cromer;
Diss;
Fakenham;
Wymondham;
Dereham.

A total of 63 frontline firefighter posts will be lost, both Wholetime and retained (on call). There are currently around 750 frontline station-based firefighters meaning a loss of one in eleven frontline crews.

The union has been told further cuts to response times for second fire engines at incidents will mean they will take longer to arrive at some emergency incidents. This will mean the first crew will have to deal with fires and other emergency incidents for a longer time without proper resources, meaning that fires will spread further, cause more damage and other types of emergency becoming more dangerous.

Peter Greeves FBU Brigade Chair said: "In financial terms business and home fire losses have reached yet another new high. Government rules require the fire authority to undertake professionally integrated plans to improve community safety but what they've come up with are pure and simple cuts proposals. We believe these proposals will lead to a worse service and increase risk to the public and fire crews at emergency incidents.

"The fire service does a lot more than attend fires, there are a whole range of emergencies these cuts will have an impact on. Not only do we save lives and reduce injuries, but we also protect businesses and workplaces from damage.

"These cuts plans are the worst we have ever faced in Norfolk and are targeted at our emergency response capability. Politicians from all parties say they want to protect frontline services and we will challenge them to do so.

"Norfolk fire crews are well aware of the current financial pressures that the country faces. We are happy to work with the fire service to see where genuine savings can be made which protects our core work of frontline emergency response."

FBU Regional Secretary Adrian Clarke said "Yet again the cart has been put in front of the horse when it comes to changes in the fire service. An Integrated Risk Management Plan for Norfolk has yet to be produced and we see something more akin to an Integrated Resource Management Plan where cash is king and safety considerations are a very lowly servant.

"These proposals will go out for public consultation and we call for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to be one of the first Fire Authorities to have the courage to actually produce a document that spells out clearly for the public the actual cuts in 999 provisions they propose for which communities. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is paid for by the businesses and communities of Norfolk to protect the businesses and communities of Norfolk and they have every right to be told the facts clearly and their voice listened to by their locally elected Fire Authority Members."

Contact Information

  • Pete Greeves
    FBU Brigade Chair
    07971151957
    or
    Jamie Wyatt
    FBU Brigade Secretary
    07825327331
    or
    Adrian Clarke
    FBU Region 9 Secretary
    07917017713