Changes To Fire Service Unveiled

11 January 2011, 10:21 | Updated: 11 January 2011, 14:43

Essex Fire and Rescue have promised there won't be any station closures or job losses as the service faces up to 10 million pounds being cut from their budget.

They've also now revealed plans to change how fire stations are crewed in future.

Some will see a reduction in full time firefighters, others like Dunmow, which covers Stansted Airport, will see an increase.

A spokesman's told Heart they'll save money without cutting jobs by not filling posts that are empty and natural wastage.

Essex Fire and Rescue say they want to:

  • Change crewing arrangements at Canvey Fire Station. From April, the plan is to change from one whole time and one   retained crewed fire appliances to two retained crewed machines. Wholetime firefighters at Canvey will be moved to other stations and posts.
  • Change crewing arrangements at Brentwood Fire Station from two whole time fire appliances to one whole time and one retained. Timing for this move will be within the first two years of the four year spending review as part of phase two changes.
  •  Also under phase two changes, the plan will be to reduce watch strengths at Orsett, Clacton, Loughton and Rayleigh Weir Fire Stations. This change will release 16 firefighter posts – not jobs - by removing one post from each watch. There is currently an over capacity for training purposes within each watch at 13 firefighters instead of 12.
  •  Under phase three changes, ECFRS plans to phase out the day crewing system which impacts Waltham Abbey, Dovercourt, Woodham Ferrers and Baddow Fire Stations. In a move designed to reflect a more accurate level of risk with cover, day crewing will be replaced by a new low level activity and risk (LLAR) crewing system. Day crewing stations are those where crews are on station during the day but respond by pager at nights and weekends.

The Fire Brigade Union is still considering the proposals ahead of an Essex Fire Authority meeting on January 19.

Mick Rogers, Essex FBU Secretary said:"These cuts fall short of the Armageddon scenario senior managers had spent the last few months warning us all of, but they still represent the biggest frontline cuts ever seen in the history of Essex fire & rescue service.

"The initial response we have received from fire crews on the frontline is a feeling of a perverse reprieve. One member has described it as feeling a little like being confronted by a mugger who demands you hand over £50 in cash, but who then only takes a twenty pound note - you feel like you've been let off lightly but in reality you've still been mugged!"