[R]evised proposals for changes to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are set to be considered by the county council’s Cabinet next week.
It follows a period of consultation on the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) Integrated Risk Management Plan 2016-2020 – Year 3 Action Plan (2018/19) during which concerns were raised by the public about some of the proposed changes. A planned decision on the plan in February was postponed to allow additional time to consider the feedback.
Steve Healey, Chief Fire Officer, said: “We have listened to consultation feedback carefully and made some amendments to our original proposals. The changes are consistent with our original aim of using available resources in the most efficient and effective ways to manage risk and ensure public safety.
“While the proposed changes at Ulverston would go ahead, the new day crew would work a 12 hour shift, not eight hours as previously consulted on. This would extend full-time cover and limit on call hours to periods with lowest levels of demand on the service.
“In addition, recognising concerns raised about the resultant reduction in full-time fire cover at night in the south of the county, and the importance of maintaining public confidence, we are proposing to bring forward, and implement during 2018/19, pre-existing plans to create a new full time night–shift at Kendal.
“These changes would ensure that the south of the county will continue to be covered by two whole-time crews – one in Barrow and one in Kendal.”
Other proposed changes are unchanged, including:
- 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 deliver broader prevention activity and respond to emergencies in collaboration 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 deliver additional services to our communities.
The service constantly reviews the level of risk in the county and how it can make most effective use of the resources available. The approach has a proven tracked record; with the number of incidents attended dropping massively over the last decade.
Cllr Janet Willis, Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue, said: “I’d like to thank people for taking the time to respond in detail to the consultation. It was important we took extra time to review that feedback and Cabinet will consider these revised proposals carefully before making any decisions.”