Following approval at the meeting of Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet today, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has launched a public consultation on its Integrated Risk Management Plan 2016-2020 – Year 3 Action Plan (2018/19).
In 2016 CFRS approved a four year strategy which outlined the challenges facing the organisation and set out the overarching principles and direction of travel it would adopt in responding to them. Annual action plans set out the direction of travel in more detail and the projects and work scheduled for the forthcoming financial year.
The draft action plan has now been published on cumbria.gov.uk/cumbriafire and a public consultation will run until 8 January 2018. A decision on whether or not to agree the Action Plan will be made by Cabinet in February following consideration of the consultation feedback.
The action plan includes a number of proposals for change, including:
- Changing crewing arrangements at Ulverston, moving from a whole-time crew to an 8 hour day shift crew supported by an on-call crew at night;
- Creation of a new on-call crew in Barrow to provide support to the existing whole-time crew and Walney on-call crew;
- Introduction of new Multi-Service Officer roles which will combine some of the functions of police officer, paramedic and firefighter, and further development of collaborative arrangements with other blue light services;
- A new approach to the county’s on-call stations to ensure their future sustainability and improve their ability to respond to incidents.
- Extension of the Safe and Well fire prevention and well-being visit programme to even more households.
A number of other proposals are also included.
Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer, Steve Healey, said: “The service is constantly reviewing the level of risk in the county and how we can make most effective use of the resources we have. The approach has a proven tracked record; with the number of incidents we attend dropping significantly over the last decade.
“These new proposals are intended to put us in the best possible position to respond to incidents and keep people safe. The changes in Ulverston and Barrow are about moving resource around to reflect demand. “The new approach to on-call stations recognises that at some stations it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recruit firefighters, but the station is still important. We want to change how these stations work, acknowledging to do this they may need additional specialist resources to make them more effective.
“We’re also developing collaboration opportunities with the police and ambulance service, this kind of inter-agency work is critical to get the most value our of our collective resources. I’m excited about the Multi-Service Officer role; it’s innovative and will make a real difference in communities.”
Cllr Janet Willis, Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue, said: “Today we’ve approved the start of consultation on these proposals; we’ve not made any final decisions. I’d encourage people to take the time to read the action plan and respond to the consultation. I and my colleagues on Cabinet are keen to understand the views of stakeholders, particularly firefighters, and the public before we reach any conclusions.”