Uckfield Fire Station watch manager Ian Ritchie, who spoke out about fire service cuts on the Uckfield News website in December, reports here about latest changes and says more are being planned.
Mr Ritchie writes:
After one year of a new duty system, Uckfield’s firefighters have reverted back to pre-2015 arrangements. This makes the duty crew available for immediate turnout for a longer period every day which will improve attendance times across the area along with crews at Crowborough, Lewes, Newhaven and Bexhill. See original story Uckfield News Dec 2014-Uckfield Watch Manager speaks out about fire service cuts.
As from April 1, further staffing cuts in Brighton and Hove and changes to fire appliance crewing across the county provided an opportunity for these stations to revert to the previous system. This has been achieved following a proposal from staff at the stations which was accepted by senior management.
However, while a faster arrival time is good news for the rural communities, the fire appliances will now regularly be crewed by fewer firefighters with the potential, in certain circumstances, to restrict operational activity until additional resources arrive.
East Sussex Fire Authority agreed on November 5, 2015, to scrap their own agreed and ‘challenging’ attendance times for life threatening incidents in favour of Department for Communities and Local Government’s average response times until a full review is undertaken.
A new Integrated Risk Management Plan which will look at the risks of emergencies, such as fires, within the communities of East Sussex and Brighton and Hove is now under way.
Once complete, this plan will be used to set out how best to use the resources available to prevent emergencies and to respond to them.
The service has commissioned a survey ESFRS IRMP Survey where members of the public, staff and ‘stakeholders’ can comment on some of the plan’s initial proposals.
Gone are the Fire Authority’s current vision, values & aims to be replaced with a ‘Purpose’ with four ‘Commitments’.
This is your opportunity to have a say about the proposed role of the Fire & Rescue Service in your community and how their performance is monitored. Further details are available at ESFRS Integrated Risk Management Plan
Once the service has considered all views and formulated their next plan, further engagement will take place with regard to any future proposals.