Fire service plans to save millions

First published in News

THE chief fire officer of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has called for calm as a public consultation is launched to help work out how £2.4 million worth of savings will be made by the service over the next four years.

The service is to start a consultation that will show how it is is looking to change the way it operates to provide an improved response to emergencies whilst making £1.3m savings over the next two years. The proposed changes will be the first round of savings to be made which will eventually total £2.4m by 2018.

Chief Fire Officer Andy Hickmott has moved to dispel fears that making the required savings will compromise the effectiveness of the service.

“It is important that we approach this consultation calmly. We have closely examined the types of incidents that happen in Warwickshire, how we can best respond to them and how we can position the service to give the best response," he said.

“I am confident that the proposed changes will mean that by rethinking how we operate and introducing new ways of working that reflect peak demand, we are better equipped to deal with life threatening emergencies and make the people of Warwickshire safer.”

The consultation will announce that 30 firefighter posts and one strategic management post will be removed over two years. This is expected to come from natural wastage as firefighters retire and are not replaced.

There will also be reductions in some of the activity that the service takes part in, particularly around the installation of smoke alarms in the home, and support will be stopped for the Young Firefighters’ Association in November.

Despite the savings, the fire service hopes to increase response times and deploy firefighters at more response locations.

Portfolio holder for community safety, Councillor Les Caborn, said: “The consultation is an ideal point for us to examine the role of the Fire and Rescue Service and the role that it plays in keeping our communities safe.

“We urge people to look at the consultation webpage and see for themselves what is happening. Whilst we would not pretend that the changes to the service have not been driven in part by the need to make savings, we are confident that they will also make the county safer for all of Warwickshire’s residents."

To read the consultation visit warwickshire.gov.uk/fireandrescue.

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