07 July 2014

Around 50% of the workforce at Loughborough Fire Station could be axed, leaving just one fire engine to cover the town, if money saving proposals are accepted by the Fire Authority, reports the Loughborough Echo.

Leicestershire has to save more than £7.5 million over the next five years due to budget cuts, which means downscaling fire services across the county. 

One proposal on the table is to remove a fire engine from Loughborough and could mean that 24 firefighters lose their jobs.

The other proposal is to increase the Fire Service’s Council Tax precept – which will work out at £5 a year for a Band E property.

Loughborough crew manager Graham Vaux, who is also The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) representative, told The Echo: “This leaves the area in a dangerous position where sending the remaining firefighters to some jobs might be too risky and they would have to wait for other resources.

“I don’t think we have the resources that we would need at a fire or any type of incident if we remove a fire engine. We could be faced with having to choose whether we have the resources to carry out the rescue or wait for other appliances which are at least 10 minutes away.”

“If there is an incident at East Midlands Airport it would take up all these resources. The Government are not considering more than one incident at one time. Minutes really do count. We base our fire engines on risks. We have huge risks in Loughborough”

Approved proposals will go out to consultation in September and the Fire Authority will then make a final decision.

Councillor Christine Radford, who is Vice Chairman of the Fire Authority, told local reporters: “We have asked for more information from the senior management at Leicestershire Fire Service and it will go back to scrutiny before a decision is made. We have also asked for a risk assessment to be done to look at all of these proposals.”

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

Original source: The Loughborogh Echo