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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

FRA approves recommendations for Staffordshire

13/07/2014

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) has today approved recommendations for how the Service will operate across the county.

"The information we have gathered has formed the basis of our decision. We have also taken on board and carefully considered the feedback that we received from residents, businesses and partners during the 12-week consultation. We firmly believe that prevention is the key to saving lives and that it is far better than cure. This ethos is very clearly working, demonstrated by the fact that operational demand has decreased by around 33 per cent over the last six years. The changes that we have agreed to will see operational capacity reduced by less than 10 per cent. There will be no job losses as a result of today’s decisions."

Chairman of the FRA Councillor Len Bloomer

The decision follows a year of planning and research and a 12-week Community Safety Options consultation which was carried out in the spring.

The FRA has a savings target of £1.7 million for the financial year of 2015/2016.

Members agreed to the following proposals:

• The New Delivery Model option should not be pursued.

• The second fire engine at Lichfield to be replaced by a Targeted Response Vehicle. Introduce annualised hours for the whole-time shift and reduce the whole-time day shift from 12 hours to 11 hours.

• The current response arrangements at Burslem will be maintained until such time as the trials of the Staffordshire Efficient Response Option are complete and provide a new approach to emergency response, providing safe systems of work are available. In addition, it was agreed that any future option will be presented to the full Authority which will be specific to Burslem. Any decisions will be made by the full Fire and Rescue Authority in session and updates will be provided at each Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on the SERO concept in the interim.

• The current response arrangements at Kidsgrove will be maintained until such time as the trials of the Staffordshire Efficient Response Option are complete and provide a new approach to emergency response, providing safe systems of work are available. In addition, it was agreed that any future option will be presented to the full Authority which will be specific to Stafford. Any decisions will be made by the full Fire and Rescue Authority in session and updates will be provided at each Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on the SERO concept in the interim.

• The current response arrangements at Tamworth Mercia will be maintained until such time as the trials of the Staffordshire Efficient Response Option are complete and provide a new approach to emergency response, providing safe systems of work are available. In addition, it was agreed that any future option will be presented to the full Authority which will be specific to Tamworth Mercia. Any decisions will be made by the full Fire and Rescue Authority in session and updates will be provided at each Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on the SERO concept in the interim.

• The current response arrangements at Stafford will be maintained until the trials of the Staffordshire Efficient Response Option are complete and provide a new approach to emergency response, providing safe systems of work are available. In addition, it was agreed that any future option will be presented to the full Authority which will be specific to Stafford. Any decisions will be made by the full Fire and Rescue Authority in session and updates will be provided at each Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on the SERO concept in the interim.

• Staffing levels at Stone to be maintained to crew the Command Support Vehicle. The second appliance to be removed.

• The current 24/7 crewing arrangements at Burton are maintained with reduced Watch strengths. The Targeted Response Vehicle to be removed.

• The current 24/7 crewing arrangements are maintained at Cannock. The Targeted Response Vehicle is removed from Cannock together with the dedicated Watch. In addition further investigations will be undertaken as to a SERO option for future deployment.

• Current staffing levels are maintained at Rugeley to crew the High Volume Pump. The second appliance to be removed. In addition further investigations will be undertaken as to a SERO option for future deployment.

Chairman of the FRA Councillor Len Bloomer said: "The information we have gathered has formed the basis of our decision. We have also taken on board and carefully considered the feedback that we received from residents, businesses and partners during the 12-week consultation. We firmly believe that prevention is the key to saving lives and that it is far better than cure. This ethos is very clearly working, demonstrated by the fact that operational demand has decreased by around 33 per cent over the last six years. The changes that we have agreed to will see operational capacity reduced by less than 10 per cent. There will be no job losses as a result of today’s decisions.

"We have invested a significant amount of resources into engaging with the communities we serve, from school children to older people and all those in between. A total of 135,000 free Home Fire Risk Checks have been carried out over the past six years - 84,000 were conducted by operational firefighters.

"Our new community fire stations allow us to have far greater levels of engagement with residents, meaning that we can educate and advise people on fire safety in the home and on the roads, further helping to reduce the number of incidents occurring in the first place. We are confident that the plans approved today will enable us to continue the work that we have already started and, further, to build upon it to make Staffordshire the safest possible place to live, work and visit."

The FRA has also agreed consider introducing part-time workers for operational and non-operational roles across the Service as well as to continue exploring opportunities across the county for operational crews to contribute to a wider range of health, safety and well-being outcomes.

It voted to continue to explore opportunities for collaborating or where appropriate and justified by evidence, integrating services with other organisations. Members will seek to establish a joint working group with other organisations and potential partners to report to the full Fire and Rescue Authority with its recommendations at the FRA meeting in October.