02 September 2014

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has launched a consultation on proposals which could save the service £3.6 million over the next three years.

The service has already made savings of £3.5 million since 2010 due to budget cuts.

Five proposals have been put forward and the service is seeking comments from local residents and businesses.

The proposals include sharing fire station premises with police and ambulance services, training firefighters to deal with certain medical emergencies, reviewing the staffing of an aerial platform appliance in Darlington, and changing the staffing at Spennymoor Fire Station for the first responding appliance to retained only.

Launching the consultation, Susan Johnson, Chief Executive of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “So far the changes we have made have delivered savings without significantly impacting on the front-line services we provide.

“However, going forward there are some difficult decisions to be made as finding new ways of working that do not increase risk to our local communities is becoming more and more difficult, particularly as the majority of our services are statutory duties.”

She added: “To better understand the views of people living and working in County Durham and Darlington, we are seeking the views of local people, our staff, partners and other stakeholders.”

The three year strategic plan document can be viewed at www.ddfire.gov.uk/service-plans.

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.