Mansfield firefighters launch campaign to keep ‘vital life-saving’ equipment

FIREFIGHTERS from Mansfield have launched a campaign to keep an under-threat fire engine and other potentially life-saving equipment in the town.

A review has proposed Mansfield Fire Station loses a retained engine and one of the county’s two aerial ladder platforms as bosses try to make savings of more than a third over the next three years.

But as a consultation continues into the plans, a Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) representative at Mansfield has launched a petition calling for a re-think. The firefighter, who asked not to be named, said it was ‘utter madness’ to be reducing fire cover in a growing urban area like Mansfield.

“If these plans go ahead, we will be in the same position as other emergency services that are struggling to keep pace with the ever growing risk profile of our town,” he said.

“This, to committed and dedicated firefighters is unacceptable, and will not stand.”

Nottinghamshire’s Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann has said fire cover in Mansfield will improve because of the proposed new full-time station at Edwinstowe.

But the FBU disputes this and insists the town needs at least two engines to deal with life-threatening incidents like house fires or road accidents.

“One fire engine is not enough and cuts do cost lives,” the union representative said.

“Our firefighters have families too, and they deserve to have every chance of going home to their children as anyone else does when they have finished work.”

Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton has backed the campaign and says he has concerns about the level of public discussion on the issue.

“A lot of people seem unaware the consultation is taking place,” he said. “I appreciate the difficult decisions which have to be made as I have also had to make them.

“But I would question whether they have got serious about public consultation.”

Craig Parkin, area manager for corporate services at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Consultation runs for three months and we have a variety of activities taking place throughout to involve as many people as we can across the county in different ways.

“Three briefing events were held in Mansfield last week. We sent invitations to more than 100 businesses and stakeholder organisations in the area and followed the letters with phone calls to encourage them to come along.

“Now we are arranging to attend meetings of business and partnership groups so that we can describe our proposals in detail to even more local people, answer questions and address their concerns.

“Meanwhile, the questionnaire is available inside our consultation document and online via our website – www.notts-fire.gov.uk.

“We are half way through the consultation period and are pleased with the response we have had, but would encourage more people to make their views known by filling this in before 23rd October.”

For more on the firefighters’ campaign visit www.saveyourfireengine.com