Fire service changes will not result in job losses says watch manager

Worksop Fire Station, Eastgate
Worksop Fire Station, Eastgate

Proposed changes to Notts Fire and Rescue Service will not result in job losses and call times will increase by less than five minutes says watch manager.

The proposal for Worksop and Retford fire stations is to have one wholetime appliance and one retained appliance from 8am to 6pm and two retained appliances from 6pm to 8am, supported by other appliances from around the county,

Moving to this system would save around £500,000 per station per year.

In Worksop last year 821 incidents were attended which is 515 few incidents since 2007, 320 of those were false alarms, 135 were special service incidents and 364 were fire incidents. In 2007 they attended 428 false alarms, 172 special service incidents and 736 fire incidents.

In Retford a total of 544 incidents were attended, 96 fewer than in 2007, 215 of those were fire incidents, 118 were special service incidents and 211 were false alarms.

Watch manager, Mike Sharman, said: “We have looked at various different options and how we can manage those risks and demands with the available resources we have at our disposal.

“We’re not suggesting a new concept, retained firefighters, or on call firefighters, already deliver around 50 per cent of the service and we already have them at Misterton and Harworth.

“These proposals are about meeting those risks and demands with the resources we have available and this is the way we can best meet them.

“We take it very seriously and we will be looking at it broadly in terms of prevention and how we can take productive measures in working to prevent incidents happening in the first place.

“Numbers are lower in terms of the level of incidents and the consequences of those incidents so we are matching the resources to the demand.

“It’s about managing the resources demand for the incidents and incidents have declined over a number of years.

“It’s about managing those resources and putting them throughout the county where it’s needed most.”

A worry of the use of a retained service is that it will result in slower response times and risk lives.

Mr Sharman added: “On call means people will respond from their home or place of work. They will live in the local community and will be within five minutes of the station.

“They will only take approximately four minutes longer than a wholetime crew.

“We will always send the quickest and most appropriate resource to a call but that might not always be the closest.”

Residents have until December 17, to give their views on the proposal. The results of the consultation will go to the Fire Authority in February for them to make a decision.

He added: “We are asking for the views of the general public on the delivery of a different crewing system in Worksop, Retford and Ashfield but it will only be implemented at two out of the three stations.

“In the change of crewing system it will have an impact on the night time cover. We have looked at the night time cover and we are trying to match the demand and risk with the resources of Notts Fire and Rescue Service.”

Mr Sharman confirmed that if these changed proposals were implemented there would be no job losses.

He said: “There will be a reduction in wholetime personnel but these will be managed through natural turn over of staff as well as retirements. But there will be no redundancies.

“We need to save £3m and this is one of the ways we can work towards that.

“We will save £1m from these proposals and it will be reinvested back into the service.

“We will also be looking for other savings across the service.

“We have made £13m of savings since 2010 and this is just one of the options to make savings.”

Residents can give their views by visiting www.notts-fire.gov.uk where they will be given a link to the consultation survey page.