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1 June 2016, 07:34
Essex's top firefighter says his preferred option for the future of the service is the one that sees the fewest cuts to fulltime firefighter numbers.
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'.
Acting Chief Fire Officer says, in his professional opinion, Option Two is the best way forward.
He 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.