‘Lives will be lost’ through fire station changes

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Fire chiefs have said there would be no reduction in cover at Ashfield Fire Station, despite plans to only use on-call part-time firefighters through the night.

The service came under fire after it was revealed that Notts Fire Authority was considering only using full-time crew through the day.

It has been proposed that there will only be retained staff on shift at night, who would travel to the station from their homes - which could be up to five minutes away.

The proposed changes will be put before the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority before any final decision is made.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, who currently sits on the authority, has raised concerns about the proposal.

Coun Zadrozny said: “Any decision to reduce the service at Ashfield Fire Station could cost lives. It’s that serious.

“Ashfield Independents are launching a campaign to retain all services at Ashfield Fire Station.

“I would encourage everybody to get involved in the consultation and send a clear message that there must be no cuts.

“I know that money is tight but people’s safety has to be the number one priority. With the Grenfell Tower disaster still fresh in our minds - announcing potential cuts at this time is particularly sensitive.

“We will oppose any cuts to the Fire Service with everything we have got. We have launching an online petition and will be running the biggest campaign we have ever done. For the Fire Authority to even consider this is a disgrace.

“I hope people join our campaign to save our life saving services.”

The proposal will be put to the authority on Friday, September 22.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue said there will not be any jobs lost and that the cut is due to a reduction in funding.

There are currently 25 full-time firefighters at Ashfield Fire Station and 12 retained firefighters.

Ashfield station attended 1617 calls in 2007 and 884 in 2016.

The spokesman said: “As a service public safety is, and always will be, our absolute priority.

“This is why we have worked tirelessly over the last ten years to try and drive down incident numbers – leading to a reduction in Ashfield of almost 50 per cent.

“It is, however, no secret that we have got to make financial savings over the course of the next few years – much like many other public sector organisations. With this in mind we started developing a number of proposals, with Fire Authority approval, at the start of last year as part of a long-term sustainability strategy.

“One of these proposals is to introduce a new crewing model at Ashfield Fire Station – which would see us start to crew the station’s wholetime appliance with retained staff at night, when demand is lower.

“This appliance would still be crewed by wholetime staff during the day and the changes would not see a reduction in fire cover, nor would it involve any redundancies. The number of retained will probably be increasing in the coming months as we are actively recruiting for on-call staff.

“Ultimately, there would still be two fire engines permanently crewed, in Ashfield, 24 hours a day.

“At this stage, though, this is one of a number of proposals that are being presented to the Authority.

“ Any decision to carry this forward will be made by the elected members and would, of course, be subject to a full public consultation.”