Residents’ call South Yorkshire fire service plan a ‘cut too far’

Star readers believe proposals to reduce the number of firefighters on engines in South Yorkshire is a 'cut too far'.

By Lee Peace
Monday, 13 May, 2019, 13:52

The brigade is consulting on plans to reduce the number of firefighters on each of its engines from five to four in order to meet a £4m budget shortfall.

Sheffield Central Fire Station

Bosses at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue say they need to save the money because of changes in the way they must staff their fire stations and a national shortfall in pension contributions.

They say cutting the number of firefighters on engines would allow them to maintain the number of fire engines they have available 24/7 across the county and avoid them having to reduce the speed of their 999 response during the night at up to half their stations.

But a number of readers have taken to The Star's Facebook page to express their dismay over the proposals.

Margaret Hopwood described it as a “cut too far” and added this could put “people's lives at risk.”

Lorraine Burgin added: “They risk enough already without being short-staffed.”

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Michael Etchells posted: “Cuts cost lives.”

Phil Lupton added: “We should be getting more firefighters not less. They already have enough pressure.”

Fire chiefs say the proposed new way of operating has already been adopted by many services around the country.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson said recently: “We’d rather not make any changes at all, but have a duty to match our resources to local risk and to manage the service in a financially responsible way. We face cost pressures of up to £4 million and the extent of the savings required is inevitably going to mean changes to the way we provide our 999 service to the public.”

A draft plan has now been published explaining their reasons for the change and what else they are doing to save money. View it at www.syfire.gov.uk