Avon’s £5m gap will reduce firefighters and kit
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28 November 2016
Weston Fire Station will lose 12 firefighter posts and specialist crews will only be available on a part-time basis as a result of the £5million in annual cuts that Avon Fire & Rescue Service have to make.
The announcement comes days after Avon Fire Authority asked local people to set their priorities for local fire and rescue services.
A rescue tender for serious incidents on the M5 will not be available 24/7 and 49 jobs are anticipated to be cut across the region. In Weston specialist staff on a turntable ladder appliance will be cut back.
The Weston Worle & Somerset Mercury quoted local Fire Brigades Union representative Gary Spindler as saying, “These are untenable, dangerous cuts to the frontline fire service.
“Firefighters have recently tackled large-scale incidents that have stretched us to the limit, and we needed every firefighter we could muster. The cuts being proposed would have a severe impact on our ability to respond effectively and promptly to these incidents.
“Every second counts in an emergency. The public will not be safe.”
FBU south-west spokesman Tam McFarlane says the 21% cut to the authority’s budget “will mean a severe and dangerous cut to the frontline fire service.”
A six-week consultation into the Service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan was launched recently and will run until the end of the year.
The draft plan includes 22 separate actions which the service will prioritise over the next two years. The IRMP recommendations are based on four guiding principles of ‘Mitigation of risk in communities’, ‘Reconfiguration of services’, ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Accountability and transparency’.
The service says it is looking at ways of “becoming more inclusive of its diverse communities and partners.”
Chairman of Avon Fire Authority, Councillor Peter Abraham said: “Our staff have been extremely successful over the years in driving down the number of house fires and wider risks faced by members of the public in our communities.
There are plans to:
- Prioritise frontline response services by reconfiguring the service delivery model, instead of reducing capacity.
- Introduce ‘alternate’ crewing of specialist vehicles, instead of them being ‘primary’ crewed.
- Revert Yate Fire Station, which is currently whole time, back to its pre-2009 crewing model when it was staffed by whole time crews in the day and ‘on-call’ firefighters at night.
- Bring the Service’s Urban Search and Rescue Team into the wholetime establishment.
- Collaborate with blue light partners where there is mutual benefit.
- Explore the potential for extended provision of support to the ambulance service for life-threatening emergency calls.
Earlier this year there was an announcement that Avon Fire & Rescue will share headquarters with the police.