Fire service changes approved

Members of the East Sussex Fire Authority yesterday approved changes to fire service provision across the county.

Uckfield Town Council and the town's fire fighters had expressed concern about the effects of changes proposed in Uckfield which include standing down whole-time crews at night and instead using retained fire-fighters to respond to emergency calls.

Revised recommendations, following consultation on a 'Rural Review', moved away from an original proposal to no longer crew stations at Burwash, Mayfield and Herstmonceux during the day.

Yesterday's meeting accepted that the existing crewing and operational availability arrangements at each of those stations be maintained.

It was agreed that the chief fire officer should be asked to undertake station specific recruitment and retention campaigns at each place over a period of 24 months, starting on April 1, 2011, to raise the station retained strength and ensure fire appliances deliver a “significant” increase in availability throughout each 24-hour period.

A recommendation to relocate Newhaven and Lewes fire stations in the future was approved.

Also approved was a proposal to sell service housing. The transition to remove all service housing is to take place within a four-year period from April 1, 2011, and arrangements are to be made to ensure that all personnel are supported to achieve this as soon as possible but at the latest by April 2015.

The recommendations were approved in full at a public meeting following consideration of opinions and suggestions from staff and the public.

East Sussex Fire Authority, Chairman, Councillor Ted Kemble said: “East Sussex Fire Authority has agreed the revised recommendations within the Rural Review report after listening to staff and the public’s concerns in how ESFRS will now proceed.

“We would like to thank the public, our partners and staff, for their pro-active involvement in providing us with their carefully considered views in creating a fire and rescue service fit for the future.”

See also: 

Fire service review documents

Uckfield councillors raise concern about fire service proposals

Fire service challenged on lack of publicity for public meeting

Uckfield fire-fighters fear compromise in fire cover

Uckfield Chamber of Commerce presents tree to hospital

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