Column: Have your say on proposals

Just what hat do you expect from your local fire service? How should we make best use of our resources to respond to 999 calls? How should we target our work in the community to make people safer? In what ways should we work more closely with our emergency service partners?

South Yorkshires Chief Fire Officer James Courtney.
South Yorkshires Chief Fire Officer James Courtney.

We want your feedback on these question, having published draft plans for how we intend to deliver our service until 2020.

Our vision for the lifetime of this plan is to provide the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire within the resources which are available to us.

Despite having lost more than £14 million from our annual budget since 2010, we are not proposing any further reductions in fire station or fire engine numbers. But our proposals do include making more of our firefighters available in the day when crews are busiest, changing our prevention work to focus on those most at risk and proactively exploring collaboration opportunities with other emergency services.

The plans also consider how we intend to respond to Government’s efforts to reform the fire service nationally, including requirements to provide a more flexible and diverse workforce.

Key changes outlined in our Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-20 include changing the staffing of the second fire engine at Sheffield’s Central fire station so that it is available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night.

We also plan to add two additional fire engines at two fire stations in South Yorkshire, which would also be available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night.

This is because we know that most of the demand on our firefighters from incidents, community safety work, training and risk inspections is in the day.

Another change we are proposing is to our established programme of free Home Safety Checks.

Each year we visit more than 20,000 homes in South Yorkshire and fit smoke alarms for free where needed. Of these visits though, up to two thirds are in homes which are unlikely to ever suffer a serious fire. Therefore, we propose offering fire prevention guidance to all, but prioritising free visits by fire service staff for those who we believe are at the greatest risk of fire based upon risk criteria.

These are draft proposals and we really want to gather views from the public on the plans we have put forward.

Members of the public can share their views on the plans until March 27.

Once the consultation period has ended and feedback has been considered, members of our governing Fire Authority will make the final decision on the proposals.

People can share their views via an online survey, in writing or at a series of community roadshow events.

To read the proposals, for more information and to have your say, visit South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue