One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Decision Set To Be Made On Essex Fire Cuts
Plans are expected to be approved today that will see 24 percent of fulltime firefighter roles in Essex cut by 2020.
The Essex Fire Authority will make a decision on three options that were put forward to a public consultation between February and April.
Option One would see 202 fulltime firefighter roles go, reducing the number from 570 to 368. It would also see the number of fire engines go from 74 to 64, and the second fire engine in Clacton and Harlow Central go from 'wholetime' to 'On Call' crewing.
Option Two would see 130 fulltime firefighter roles go, the number of fire engines go from 74 to 66, and the second fire engine in Clacton go from being crewed 'wholetime' to 'On Call'.
Option Three would see 226 roles go, the number of fire engines go from 74 to 64, and Brentwood fire station from being crewed 'wholetime' to 'On Call'.
In each option fire stations in Dovercourt, South Woodham Ferrers, Great Baddow, Waltham Abbey and Great Dunmow would go from a 'day-crewing' system to being 'on call'.
It is expected the Fire Authority will approve Option Two after it got the backing of the Acting Chief Fire Officer and 68 percent of people in the consultation.
Speaking last week, ACFO Adam Eckley said: "My professional opinion is that Option 2 offers the greatest potential for the Fire and Rescue Service in Essex, Southend and Thurrock to meet the current and future challenges it faces whilst at the same time retaining sufficient capacity to adequately respond to threats and opportunities as they emerge.
"Option 2 received strong support in the consultation, with 73% of all respondents and 68% of our employees expressing a preference for it.
"Option 2 meets the Authority’s performance measures for response standards.
"Option 2 provides the best opportunity to minimise the potential for compulsory redundancies.
"Option 2 provides capacity which can be utilised through collaboration with other emergency services to respond to new types of incident.
"Option 2 provides the best opportunity to impact positively on the culture of the Service".
The service also believes the reduction in firefighter numbers outlined in Option Two would be possible without compulsory redundancies.
A decision will be made by the Fire Authority at a meeting next week.
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