Proposed changes to crewing arrangements and the number and location of appliances, contained in the fire service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan, are to be modified following the consultation held from April to June.
The draft plan “Planning for a Safer Future” was criticised by Town Councillors, the business community and members of the public, and led to demonstrations outside Crowborough Fire Service in June.
Councillor Roy Galley, the Fire Authority’s Chairman hinted at the reworking when he spoke on the subject during a meeting of Wealden District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 6th July. He said:
As members will know, the fire authority has been carrying out a consultation on some proposed changes to the fire service, some of which have been quite controversial.
As a result of the consultation responses and discussions with the Fire Brigades Union, we are now fashioning a new set of proposals which react to that consultation and have been negotiated with the union.
Under the original proposals Crowborough would only have had full-time firefighters on-site during the daytime Monday to Friday. There would have been longer response times at weekends when on-call (“retained”) firefighters were on duty.
In response to the feedback, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are now proposing to maintain an on-station response during the day at weekends.
The second fire engine will also retained at Crowborough. ESFRS have said this will be utilised as part of the service’s spare fleet, as well as being operationally available for response to incidents.
East Sussex Fire Authority have said the “modified proposals will reduce impacts on our workforce and mitigate a number of the concerns presented to the Service through the consultation.”
You can see the ‘modified’ proposals, and the implications for the rest of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, on the ESFRS’s website: www.esfrs.org/safer-future.
A final decision on the proposals will be made at the meeting of the Fire Authority on 3rd September.