Fears over fire shake-up

Firefighters think plans to cut full-timers from Abingdon and Didcot's fire stations will lead to delays getting to 999 calls.

The County Council have approved proposals to shake-up the way Oxfordshire's Fire and Rescue Service works.  Two full time firefighters will be taken away from each of Abingdon and Didcot's fire stations and redeployed elsewhere in the county.

Bosses say the changes will increase cover in other parts of Oxfordshire which have no locally based firefighters, improving the overall balance of fire cover across the county.  The Fire Brigades Union think it'll lead to longer response times in the Abingdon and Didcot areas.

Steve Allen from the FBU has been telling Heart: "The fire service is one of those services that can't be cut.  It's one of those essential services that even if you only take the service once in your lifetime, the benefits of that service are that you stay alive."

The Fire Service's five-year Integrated Risk Management Plan will also see Oxfordshire's Fire Service work more closely with neighbouring fire services.  The County Council also plan to recruit 12 new Watch Managers over the next three years.

Bosses say they will monitor and check up on how the new arrangements are working every three months.

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