Cuts To Tyne And Wear Fire Service To Be Announced

20 January 2014, 06:03

A big meeting's being held this morning to decide on how Tyne and Wear Fire And Rescue Service will be run over the next three years.

In October 2013 Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service began consultation on three options to change its operational response service.

This was as a result of a detailed review to balance the community risk in Tyne and Wear with a significant reduction in Government funding.

Between 2010 and 2017 Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's budget will have been reduced by £13.6m (23%).

Public and staff were encouraged to take part in the consultation through a questionnaire.

As part of the public consultation the Service held ten public meetings, two in each of the five local authority areas in Tyne and Wear.

A wide range of information was also provided on the Service's website.

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said:
"I would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation process. It is important in considering the options that we hear the views of our staff and the community we serve. The findings of the consultation will form part of the discussion at the Fire Authority meeting, where we expect a decision will be made on the options to change the way the Service responds to incidents in the future.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is one of the best and fastest fire and rescue services in the country and we want to continue to be. The safety of our community and firefighters is, and always will be, our number one priority."

There are three different options being considered:

OPTION 1
* Introduce four targeted response appliances (smaller vehicles); staffed by two firefighters, to attend lower risk incidents e.g. false alarms, rubbish fires and derelict property fires. Two of the targeted response appliances would be staffed 24 hours a day whilst the other two would be available 24 hours a day, but dual staffed. This would be supported by dynamic call handling by experienced Control Room staff.
* Remove six fire appliances, based on a rigourous analysis of risk, incident patterns and travel times.
* Invest in new firefighting technologies to enhance performance and safety e.g. high pressure fire suppression systems.
* 'Stand down' two fire appliances for up to 12 hours a night (during quieter periods) where the risk allows this to be done.
* All fire stations with one fire appliance to be crewed by four firefighters, rather than five. This is in line with the existing staffing at stations with more than one fire appliances.
* Reduce the number of aerial ladder platforms (ALPs) from three to two

OR

OPTION 2
Option 1 and;
* Replace two community fire stations (Wallsend and Gosforth Community Fire Stations) with a new community fire station around the Benton area (the exact location will be decided based on a rigourous analysis of risk, incident patterns and travel times).
* Due to the changes to community fire stations, increase the number of community fire stations with two fire appliances.

OR

OPTION 3
* Option 1, 2 and;
* Close Sunderland Central Community Fire Station, which is surrounded by three stations
* Due to the changes to community fire stations, increase the number of community fire stations with two fire appliances.

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