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.