Contentious changes proposed for fire cover in Uckfield have been re-shaped following consultation with the public.
East Sussex Fire Authority has come up with a new set of proposals after its original plans were heavily criticised by residents, councillors and the Fire Brigades’ Union.
The overall plan, which covered East Sussex and Brighton and Hove, has been re-cast.
For Uckfield, the modified proposals means the “day crewed” system by full-time firefighters with immediate on-station response will be available at weekends, as well as week days
Original proposals was to have full cover just on weekdays. Weekends would have become the responsibility of ‘on-call’ firefighters.
Second fire appliance
One of the complaints of that plan was the difficulty in recruiting ‘on-call’ firefighters who usually have full-time work outside the fire service.
Uckfield will also retain its second fire engine. Its removal had been proposed.
The engine will, however, be deemed to be a Service-wide asset, providing part of the East Sussex spare appliance fleet, as well as being operationally available at the station for response to incidents.
Uckfield Fire Station commented yesterday on Facebook saying: “Keeping the second appliance as a spare means that it will rarely be available at Uckfield.
“More importantly however whole time cover will be kept at the weekends. This is a cut in service, but not as significant as originally proposed.”
A final decision on the plans will be made the full fire authority at a meeting on September 3.
In a statement the East Sussex Fire Authority thanked partners, members of the public and organisations that made responses and also attended forums.
“We had the highest response rate ever to a consultation and we would like to assure all contributors that each response will be considered.
“The Service also welcomes all the feedback that has been received from staff and our representative bodies,” the statement said.
It said that while the public consultation had been running, in parallel, senior officers had been engaged in meaningful and constructive dialogue with staff representative groups and trade unions.
“The modified proposals will reduce impacts on our workforce and mitigate a number of the concerns presented to the Service through the consultation.
Integrated Risk Management Plan
“It is a statutory duty for Fire and Rescue Authorities to have an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) and our current plan expires this year.
“It remains vital then that our available resources are used in the most effective way to mitigate the risks our communities face, the statement said.
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