January 30 2015 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Consultation has started today over proposals to remove full-time firefighters from one of Suffolk’s biggest towns.
Over the past three years, the number of full-time officers at Felixstowe has been gradually reduced with the town relying increasingly on on-call retained crews to deal with emergencies.
Changes were first proposed in 2010 as part of an Integrated Risk Management Plan, and after a campaign and petition against the removal of full-time crews, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service agreed to a phased approach so that the impact couild be closely monitored.
In 2011, crewing arrangements were changed from seven-day, day-time full-time crews to five-day, day-time crews with on-call teams covering outside the day-time hours.
Then in 2012 the five-day system was replaced with new arrangements where a five-day nucleus crew of full-time officers gave support to on-call firefighters.
Now the fire service wants to move to stage three of the phased reduction with the removal of all full-time officers.
It says its latest review of the impact of the stage two changes had considered the number and type of 999 calls the firefighters responded to, the risk profile of the surrounding area and the concerns raised during the 2011 consultation.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service considers the latest review supports the implementation of the next and final stage of the proposal.
Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “After our consultation in 2011, we recognised the concerns that were raised and agreed to adjust our proposal for the change of crewing arrangements at Felixstowe fire station.
“The phased approach enabled us to deliver the changes in three small stages and to fully review the impact each time.
“We also agreed that we would consult the public again before we made the final change, that is what we are now doing and I would encourage you to read the information and respond to the consultation.”
The six-week consultation on the proposed changes can be seen at www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations
People can give their views by visiting a drop-in session on Wednesday, February 19 between 4pm and 8pm at Felixstowe Fire Station, High Road West; completing an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SFRSFelixstoweIRMP; or via post to Business Support Team, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX
The deadline for submissions is Midnight on Tuesday, March 4.