South Yorkshire fire crews feel the heat

Nursery Street fire 22.8.13
Nursery Street fire 22.8.13
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Fire chiefs have given members of the public another six weeks to have their say on plans to reduce the number of full-time firefighters in the county and to scrap response time targets.

South Yorkshire Fire Authority members discussed the cost-cutting plans yesterday but extended the period of public consultation before deciding whether to impose the proposed changes.

The money-saving measures put forward by fire service bosses include not replacing retiring firefighters, and replacing some full-time evening crews with part-time firefighters.

A six-minute target to respond to emergency calls would also be scrapped.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney said: “Losing £12 million - or 20 per cent of our funding - has forced us to reconsider our entire frontline provision, but we feel we can state now that we do not plan to remove any further fire stations or rescue pumps in the lifetime of this plan, subject to the further cuts being of the levels we expect.

“We are committed to keeping as many fire stations open as possible, to protect the speed of our initial response to emergency incidents. To be able to achieve this, we are recommending changes to the way we crew the second pump at most of our two-pump stations. This reduces our costs without having to remove fire stations or fire engines.

“These plans have been developed following a 13-week public consultation period earlier this year. The Authority has decided to put these specific proposals out for a further six-week consultation before making final decisions in November.”

The Fire Brigades Union said: “Firefighters are not happy.”