Fire service cuts will lead to crews attending blazes 'late'

Worcester News: Fire service cuts in Worcestershire are on the way Fire service cuts in Worcestershire are on the way

LIFE-SAVING fire crews are expected to turn up ‘late’ at 14 emergencies in Worcester every year if nearly £5m of cuts are forced through, it emerged today.

Firefighters would take more than 10 minutes to reach nine building blazes and five road crashes - below the fire authority’s own targets.

Chief fire officer Mark Yates has also revealed that 28 per cent of the £4.7m of cuts over the next three years will affect front line services, and says he is being “forced” to accept them.

During a Q&A session before politicians at Worcestershire County Council this morning, he said the fire service was having to reluctantly accept reductions in Government funds.

In 2003 the Government scrapped its own national fire standards and asked each county or region to create its own.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s standards include the first fire engine getting to a call within 10 minutes 75 per cent of the time, and a second one arriving within the next five minutes.

Mr Yates said the cuts, which include removing one full-time appliance in Worcester, would result in 14 calls getting a first fire engine after 10 minutes.

In terms of the second vehicle, six would be late turning up at a building blaze, meaning it would take over 15 minutes to get there, as well as two road crashes.

“In my opinion, that first fire engine is the life saving one,” said Mr Yates.

He also told a meeting of the overview, scrutiny and performance board that he was not happy with the cuts being forced on them.

“The front line will be protected as much as we can, but there comes a time when we are forced, and it is forced, to look at the front line.”

He said he was satisfied the impact will be “relatively low” when considering the 1,400 calls made to fire crews in Worcester per year.

He was asked by Councillor Kit Taylor if the fire service had “made a rod for its own back” by having such high targets.

Mr Yates he could have changed them alongside areas like Shropshire, where 90 per cent of fire engines are expected to be at a call within 15 minutes, but admitted it would be “folly” to do so while the cuts were coming in.

“Obviously any reductions in fire engines do concern me, but I believe it will not have an overly detrimental impact,” he said.

He also told the panel he was in charge of “one of the worst funded fire authorities in the entire country”.

During the debate, he was also asked if the service would still respond to "Lawrence style fires" like the recent disaster in Kidderminster.

Mr Yates said if a repeat happened, there is a "range of fire stations" that could still respond, and that "dual turn out" from fire crews in bordering areas, such as the West Midlands, would be a possible outcome.

"That would not be unusual," he said.

The proposals include closing stations in Bewdley, Broadway, Kingsland and Whitchurch, reducing the number of engines on duty from 43 to 33, getting rid of one full-time appliance in Worcester, and 144 job losses.

It is out for public consultation and if finalised, will come into force from next year, and run for three years.

Some 72 per cent of the cuts will impact upon back office functions.

Comments (7)

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2:03pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Real Facts says...

I am led to understand that around ninety nine percent of call outs attract less than four Fire Engines.
I also understand that these calls can then be commanded by on duty Shift Commanders.
It strikes me as bizarre that these cuts are always front line crews and Fire Engines but not Officers with their higher wages and provided cars.
Two Station Managers complete with cars are the equivalent cost of a Fire engine crew.
When you call 999 for a fire or car crash do you expect a Fire Engine with Firefighters or an officer with his nice car?
I think that the Fire Brigade should re assess the way it goes to fires. Do you really need as many officers?
Or do we need experienced Firefighters?
I am led to understand that around ninety nine percent of call outs attract less than four Fire Engines. I also understand that these calls can then be commanded by on duty Shift Commanders. It strikes me as bizarre that these cuts are always front line crews and Fire Engines but not Officers with their higher wages and provided cars. Two Station Managers complete with cars are the equivalent cost of a Fire engine crew. When you call 999 for a fire or car crash do you expect a Fire Engine with Firefighters or an officer with his nice car? I think that the Fire Brigade should re assess the way it goes to fires. Do you really need as many officers? Or do we need experienced Firefighters? Real Facts

4:13pm Fri 6 Dec 13

stpr291 says...

So if there is a large fire like the one at Lindridge wensday you say that a pump from the west midlands would be able to attend a fire in say clows top in 10 minutes ur I don't think so even if they new were it was
So if there is a large fire like the one at Lindridge wensday you say that a pump from the west midlands would be able to attend a fire in say clows top in 10 minutes ur I don't think so even if they new were it was stpr291

8:35pm Fri 6 Dec 13

LAWER25 says...

Real Facts wrote:
I am led to understand that around ninety nine percent of call outs attract less than four Fire Engines.
I also understand that these calls can then be commanded by on duty Shift Commanders.
It strikes me as bizarre that these cuts are always front line crews and Fire Engines but not Officers with their higher wages and provided cars.
Two Station Managers complete with cars are the equivalent cost of a Fire engine crew.
When you call 999 for a fire or car crash do you expect a Fire Engine with Firefighters or an officer with his nice car?
I think that the Fire Brigade should re assess the way it goes to fires. Do you really need as many officers?
Or do we need experienced Firefighters?
I am sure that the Officers are just as qualified as the firefighters. They are surely there to ensure everything is going as it should. I am sure if my house was on fire, I would not give a **** what car was pulling up outside my house! As long as i have someone who was qualified to the level of 'officer' I would feel much safer.
[quote][p][bold]Real Facts[/bold] wrote: I am led to understand that around ninety nine percent of call outs attract less than four Fire Engines. I also understand that these calls can then be commanded by on duty Shift Commanders. It strikes me as bizarre that these cuts are always front line crews and Fire Engines but not Officers with their higher wages and provided cars. Two Station Managers complete with cars are the equivalent cost of a Fire engine crew. When you call 999 for a fire or car crash do you expect a Fire Engine with Firefighters or an officer with his nice car? I think that the Fire Brigade should re assess the way it goes to fires. Do you really need as many officers? Or do we need experienced Firefighters?[/p][/quote]I am sure that the Officers are just as qualified as the firefighters. They are surely there to ensure everything is going as it should. I am sure if my house was on fire, I would not give a **** what car was pulling up outside my house! As long as i have someone who was qualified to the level of 'officer' I would feel much safer. LAWER25

4:59am Sat 7 Dec 13

Real Facts says...

LAWER25 wrote:
Real Facts wrote:
I am led to understand that around ninety nine percent of call outs attract less than four Fire Engines.
I also understand that these calls can then be commanded by on duty Shift Commanders.
It strikes me as bizarre that these cuts are always front line crews and Fire Engines but not Officers with their higher wages and provided cars.
Two Station Managers complete with cars are the equivalent cost of a Fire engine crew.
When you call 999 for a fire or car crash do you expect a Fire Engine with Firefighters or an officer with his nice car?
I think that the Fire Brigade should re assess the way it goes to fires. Do you really need as many officers?
Or do we need experienced Firefighters?
I am sure that the Officers are just as qualified as the firefighters. They are surely there to ensure everything is going as it should. I am sure if my house was on fire, I would not give a **** what car was pulling up outside my house! As long as i have someone who was qualified to the level of 'officer' I would feel much safer.
But do you want a crew who can help or just one person in a car?
I feel that you don't really know the difference.
(Without any prejudice I promise)
[quote][p][bold]LAWER25[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Real Facts[/bold] wrote: I am led to understand that around ninety nine percent of call outs attract less than four Fire Engines. I also understand that these calls can then be commanded by on duty Shift Commanders. It strikes me as bizarre that these cuts are always front line crews and Fire Engines but not Officers with their higher wages and provided cars. Two Station Managers complete with cars are the equivalent cost of a Fire engine crew. When you call 999 for a fire or car crash do you expect a Fire Engine with Firefighters or an officer with his nice car? I think that the Fire Brigade should re assess the way it goes to fires. Do you really need as many officers? Or do we need experienced Firefighters?[/p][/quote]I am sure that the Officers are just as qualified as the firefighters. They are surely there to ensure everything is going as it should. I am sure if my house was on fire, I would not give a **** what car was pulling up outside my house! As long as i have someone who was qualified to the level of 'officer' I would feel much safer.[/p][/quote]But do you want a crew who can help or just one person in a car? I feel that you don't really know the difference. (Without any prejudice I promise) Real Facts

8:53pm Sat 7 Dec 13

harryman says...

LAWER25 wrote:
"I am sure that the Officers are just as qualified as the firefighters. They are surely there to ensure everything is going as it should. I am sure if my house was on fire, I would not give a **** what car was pulling up outside my house! As long as i have someone who was qualified to the level of 'officer' I would feel much safer."

Yes officers are just as qualified, after all they were in fact mere fire fighters at one point of their career......BUT.....
...they do not arrive with water and hose to extinguish a fire, they do not arrive with a cutting equipment and trauma care to deal with vehicular collisions and they do not arrive with several other fire fighters to carry out simultaneous activities when more than one task (which is ALWAYS the case) in emergency situations is called for.
If an officer, in their car, arrives outside your house, LAWER25, you will give a **** , because they will not have any resources to save, extinguish or mitigate the dire situation you are in UNTIL a fire appliance arrives with its qualified experienced crew.
I hope you don't ever get to experience what you've wished for.
LAWER25 wrote: "I am sure that the Officers are just as qualified as the firefighters. They are surely there to ensure everything is going as it should. I am sure if my house was on fire, I would not give a **** what car was pulling up outside my house! As long as i have someone who was qualified to the level of 'officer' I would feel much safer." Yes officers are just as qualified, after all they were in fact mere fire fighters at one point of their career......BUT..... ...they do not arrive with water and hose to extinguish a fire, they do not arrive with a cutting equipment and trauma care to deal with vehicular collisions and they do not arrive with several other fire fighters to carry out simultaneous activities when more than one task (which is ALWAYS the case) in emergency situations is called for. If an officer, in their car, arrives outside your house, LAWER25, you will give a **** , because they will not have any resources to save, extinguish or mitigate the dire situation you are in UNTIL a fire appliance arrives with its qualified experienced crew. I hope you don't ever get to experience what you've wished for. harryman

1:34am Sun 8 Dec 13

LAWER25 says...

Just to clarify I did not at any point state that I wished for an officer outside my door....they come to give their expertise not just turn up in their car for no reason... I would never say they were just mere firefighters at one point as firefighters are amazing. I am only trying to say that in every job we need leaders. I have been inthe situation..... Maybe that is why I feel I can voice perhaps an opinion. At the end of the day anyone no matter what level they r in any service they should be valued. The goverment have to make cuts and we the public have to go with it....trying to make it right by wanting to get rid of people higher up in a job is not the solution in every case...they are needed too.....
Just to clarify I did not at any point state that I wished for an officer outside my door....they come to give their expertise not just turn up in their car for no reason... I would never say they were just mere firefighters at one point as firefighters are amazing. I am only trying to say that in every job we need leaders. I have been inthe situation..... Maybe that is why I feel I can voice perhaps an opinion. At the end of the day anyone no matter what level they r in any service they should be valued. The goverment have to make cuts and we the public have to go with it....trying to make it right by wanting to get rid of people higher up in a job is not the solution in every case...they are needed too..... LAWER25

9:14am Sun 8 Dec 13

Real Facts says...

LAWER25 wrote:
Just to clarify I did not at any point state that I wished for an officer outside my door....they come to give their expertise not just turn up in their car for no reason... I would never say they were just mere firefighters at one point as firefighters are amazing. I am only trying to say that in every job we need leaders. I have been inthe situation..... Maybe that is why I feel I can voice perhaps an opinion. At the end of the day anyone no matter what level they r in any service they should be valued. The goverment have to make cuts and we the public have to go with it....trying to make it right by wanting to get rid of people higher up in a job is not the solution in every case...they are needed too.....
Understood but I still don't think you understand the nuances of what I am suggesting.
At the present ninety nine percent of calls are at the level at which a shift commander is trained to command.
The shift commanders are the most experienced individuals when it comes to commanding incidents of that size.
Officers are not required at this level of incident unless the call progresses to five pumps. (Unless for instance you are dealing with a fire that requires higher level investigation or if there are fatalities)
This is a national standard.
Why then are so many officers mobilising to two, three or four pump incidents?
They are not required.
Now although they are required for certain tasks they are quite clearly not front line firefighters. Yes they were once but they are not practised.
The cuts that are forecast are of front line crews and fire engines. Ten of them.
I am merely suggesting that there are too many officers. Of course you need some but not all are required. The fire brigade needs to change the way it does things. Let the shift commanders command to their level. Have less officers on call at night. Consider sharing specialist officers with surrounding brigades. At present the officers are paid a 20% increment to be on call. That is a lot of money to be on call bearing in mind they may not be needed!
The cost of on call officers is monumental compared to a pump crew.
It's the pumps and crew you call for when there is an accident or fire.
[quote][p][bold]LAWER25[/bold] wrote: Just to clarify I did not at any point state that I wished for an officer outside my door....they come to give their expertise not just turn up in their car for no reason... I would never say they were just mere firefighters at one point as firefighters are amazing. I am only trying to say that in every job we need leaders. I have been inthe situation..... Maybe that is why I feel I can voice perhaps an opinion. At the end of the day anyone no matter what level they r in any service they should be valued. The goverment have to make cuts and we the public have to go with it....trying to make it right by wanting to get rid of people higher up in a job is not the solution in every case...they are needed too.....[/p][/quote]Understood but I still don't think you understand the nuances of what I am suggesting. At the present ninety nine percent of calls are at the level at which a shift commander is trained to command. The shift commanders are the most experienced individuals when it comes to commanding incidents of that size. Officers are not required at this level of incident unless the call progresses to five pumps. (Unless for instance you are dealing with a fire that requires higher level investigation or if there are fatalities) This is a national standard. Why then are so many officers mobilising to two, three or four pump incidents? They are not required. Now although they are required for certain tasks they are quite clearly not front line firefighters. Yes they were once but they are not practised. The cuts that are forecast are of front line crews and fire engines. Ten of them. I am merely suggesting that there are too many officers. Of course you need some but not all are required. The fire brigade needs to change the way it does things. Let the shift commanders command to their level. Have less officers on call at night. Consider sharing specialist officers with surrounding brigades. At present the officers are paid a 20% increment to be on call. That is a lot of money to be on call bearing in mind they may not be needed! The cost of on call officers is monumental compared to a pump crew. It's the pumps and crew you call for when there is an accident or fire. Real Facts

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