Crowborough to be designated as single appliance station


Yesterday the revised proposals to modify East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were approved by the Fire Authority.

The initial proposals were modified as a result of a consultation between April and June this year.

Proposals 2 & 3 have implications for Crowborough Fire Station.

Agreed modified Proposal 2 – changes to day crewed stations

It was agreed to introduce a one-watch duty system at Crowborough, Lewes, Newhaven and Uckfield to work over 7 days with an establishment of 9 and; introduce a one-watch duty system at Battle Fire Station to work over 5 days with an establishment of 7.

Agreed modified Proposal 3 removal of second fire appliances

The second appliances at Bexhill, Crowborough, Uckfield, Newhaven, Lewes, Battle and Rye will be removed and these stations will be formally designated as single appliance stations. In addition, Heathfield, Seaford and Wadhurst (former maxi-cab stations) will be designated as single appliance stations. However, through an overall redistribution of operational vehicles, Bexhill, Crowborough, Uckfield and Newhaven will be designated 1 pump resilience stations and will therefore have access to an additional fire appliance located at the stations. These will be utilised as flexible Service-wide assets providing part of the Service’s spare appliance fleet, as well as being operationally available at the stations for response to incidents, if required. Lewes, Battle, Rye, Heathfield, Seaford and Wadhurst will also have access to specialist operational vehicles to maintain at least two operational vehicles at the station, and these vehicles will also be operationally available at the stations for response to incidents, if required.

The organisational changes approved by the Fire Authority will be implementation within the 5 year period covered by our new Integrated Risk Management Plan 2020 – 2025.

Crowborough Life invited ESFRS to explain what a “1 pump resilience station” is and how the spare pumping appliance will be crewed, if needed for an emergency. This is their response:

One key change that has been agreed is for a new Operational Resilience Plan (ORP) to be put in place that seeks to increase the number of Fire Engines available before demand at the start of each day from 15 to 18. 

To help with this, the ORP seeks to make ready an additional 6 resilience Fire Engines available across the County after a short period. These can have a more flexible availability depending on staff numbers for instance and over the next few months, the finer detail of how and when they will be mobilised with existing and newly recruited staff will be designed.

To answer your specific question, a one pump resilience station will have access to a spare appliance on most occasions and if a full crew of on-call based at that station were available, they would be mobilised to crew this appliance for an incident that required two pumps, on it being the second quickest.

Chairman of the Fire Authority Cllr Roy Galley said:

It is the responsibility of the Fire Authority to provide a fire and rescue service and to ensure its efficiency. More than that, we want to ensure that the community we serve and those who work for the fire and rescue service have the opportunity to shape its future.

The proposals brought to the Fire Authority for debate followed a wide ranging consultation, involving an online survey, forums and other two-way communication. I am pleased that these decisions, which were based on evidence and engagement, were agreed and the Fire Authority is committed to ensuring this engagement continues.

Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker said:

It is vital that our available resources are used in the most effective way to mitigate the risks our communities face, whether they be response to emergencies, our educational work or improving building safety.

These decisions allow us to move forward with our original aims which will increase our resilience, and allow our resources to be deployed to where they are most needed such as building safety and community engagement.

There is now a great deal of work ahead and we will naturally take into account any new emerging information, data and evidence when implementing these decisions. Our focus will remain on those who live in and visit East Sussex and Brighton and Hove, and their safety.

The Fire Authority agreed an additional proposal stating:

In the event that there is an increase in government funding to Fire Service, the Authority agrees to review the IRMP to reflect the changed position.

See the Planning for a Safer Future webpage for further information on all the proposal.



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  1. Before trying to assess the actual practical effect of the patronising blah reported here, I’d like to hear from the FBU. Could you attempt a response from them, please, Stephan?

    • Hi Jane

      This is the statement from the Fire Brigates Union issued the day before the meeting:

      “Pre September 2020 Fire Authority Decision – East Sussex FBU Statement


      During the public consultation period the FBU have made Service Senior Managers fully aware of our concerns with the proposals that were set out in the ‘Planning for a Safer Future’ IRMP document. The FBU welcomes the fact that the Service has taken on board a number of our concerns around the future provision of the Service.

      We do consider these modified proposals to significantly improve public and firefighter safety when compared to the original ones. We believe that these new proposals also seek to address most of our members’ concerns around pay, pensions, conditions of service and duty systems.

      In particular the Service have taken onboard FBU concerns around the requirement to continue to primary crew the aerial appliance in Hastings and to maintain an on-station response across the County during the weekends at daycrewed stations.

      The FBU are still concerned with some proposals that seek to downgrade the Service’s resilience in certain areas. Our members are also concerned with the impacts from the proposed changes to the day crewed duty system that seeks to move from a two watch based system to a flexible/self rostered shift system.

      During the campaign against the original proposals the FBU received huge support from members of the public, local councillors and members of parliament.
      Moving forward the FBU wishes to continue to work with those who have supported us and hold those to account who have promised to seek better funding for the Fire Service.

      The FBU has been fully committed to ensuring that the Service shall be well placed to deal with the foreseeable risks posed by fire and other emergencies to the public, firefighters, other agencies and business owners in East Sussex.

      We acknowledge that after the Fire Authority decision there shall be a significant amount of planning before implementation can fully commence and we shall take a full and active role in this work. We also commit to be fully involved in the production of all risk assessments, negotiated contractual changes, policies and impact assessments and ensure they are all suitable and sufficient.”

  2. Ridiculous Crowborough is probably the largest inland town in East Sussex with 6500 acres of Ashdown Forest on its doorstep and stupidly councils are allowing more building in the area with housing, so the call on our fire service will need more than one appliance. Why oh why is The small town/ village of Wadhurst allowed two appliances??????
    I trust the cost to the public will be reflected in Council tax reductions too

  3. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson announced yesterday plans to spend £100 Billion on mass testing (Operation Moonshot). It may work and it may not work.

    Would buy a lot of local infrastructure and keep a lot of fire engines running/people safe…

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