Nottinghamshire fire cuts ‘will not risk lives’

.     Coun Darrell Pulk left and Frank Swann Chief Fire Officer talk at a press conference about the future of the fire service
. Coun Darrell Pulk left and Frank Swann Chief Fire Officer talk at a press conference about the future of the fire service

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’S Chief Fire Officer says he is confident Mansfield residents will be safer despite the service facing cuts of more than a third.

The county’s fire service has to make savings of 36 per cent over the next three years and has undertaken the first major review of fire cover in 75 years.

Despite initial fears that Warsop and Edwinstowe fire stations could be closed, Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann is now recommending they remain open, with Edwinstowe upgraded to a ‘wholetime’ station.

But as a public consultation begins into the proposals, the preferred option will call for Mansfield Fire Station to lose a retained engine and one of the county’s two aerial ladder platforms - used when there are blazes in high-rise buildings and when firefighters need to tackle a blaze from above.

Mr Swann said: “We feel the best option is to bite the bullet and lose one of them. Nottinghamshire needs one of the platforms but we don’t need two when one is used so rarely.”

The review has found that in the past five years, the platform has only been used four times to rescue people from height, three times at a dangerous structure and 14 times as a water tower.

Nottinghamshire Fire Authority chairman Coun Darrell Pulk said: “It is an essential piece of equipment but not used very often. If we can save money by borrowing from neighbouring counties when necessary it has to make sense.”

And with the new full-time station at Edwinstowe, Mr Swann believes fire cover in Mansfield will actually improve.

“The proposed changes give us confidence and reassurance that we can get a second pump to Mansfield within 10 minutes,” he said.

The public consultation will run for 12 weeks until 23rd October, before the Fire Authority makes its final decision in December.

There will be a range of meetings with business groups and parish forums. To take part visit www.notts-fire.gov.uk or call 0115 9670880.