Changes To Fire Crews Approved

Plans for changes to fire cover have been approved by members of Essex Fire Authority.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) has to make 10 million pounds in savings over the next four years because of government spending cuts.

Most of the money will be saved through changes to crewing arrangements.

Canvey Island will go from one whole time crew and a retained one, to two retained crews. Whole time firefighters will be moved to other stations and posts.

Brentwood will go from two whole time appliances to one whole time and one retained.

Other changes include:

- The reduction of watch strengths at Orsett, Clacton, Loughton and Rayleigh Weir Fire Stations. This change will mean the loss of 16 firefighter posts, not jobs - by removing one post from each watch.

- ECFRS plans to phase out the day crewing system which impacts Waltham Abbey, Dovercourt, Woodham Ferrers and Baddow Fire Stations. Day crewing will be replaced by a new low level activity and risk (LLAR) crewing system.

- Dunmow Fire Station will go from two retained crewed appliances to one whole time and one retained crewed appliances. This will create up to 28 whole time posts and will mean more cover for the area, in particular Stansted Airport.

Around 40 posts will go altogether, although there won't be any forced redundancies.

There haven't been any station closures, but Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gordon Hunter's told Heart they can't rule that out in the future.

He said: "We are going to try and make all the savings we can, do the best we can for no redundancies, no station closures and no reduction in fire appliances.

"However I couldn't give an unconditional guarantee because the government can't give me an unconditional guarantee of what our budgets will be ."

Campaigners have been fighting the plans - with 7,000 people on Canvey signing a petition.


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