Fire service cuts one step forward after cabinet vote

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Changes to the fire service that could see stations operating at an “on-call” level at night, as in Spalding, could be rolled out across the county.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive has unanimously approved cuts worth £1.23 million in order to make savings of £90 million over the next four years.

These proposals will impact on every single community in the county. They are dangerous and will devastate fire services for years to come.

FBU branch secretary Dan Taylor

Other changes which could see only four firefighters per fire engine responding to callouts, more joint working with East Midlands Ambulance Service at emergencies and revised response times for house fires and crashes were also agreed by the executive during a meeting yesterday.

Campaigners and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) who oppose the cuts claim lives will be put at risk because of the changes outlined in an Integrated Risk Management Plan for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue published last November.

Dan Taylor, Lincolnshire FBU branch secretary, said: “These proposals will impact on every single community in the county.

“They are dangerous and will devastate fire services for years to come.

“Years of research and experience have gone into the conclusion that five crew per appliance is the efficient and correct number, which is why almost all brigades stick to the formula. Reducing crews on fire engines, lowering officer numbers and increasing response times is dangerous for the public as it can mean the difference between life and death.”

But Dave Ramscar, chief fire officer for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “We are confident that our proposals will have no significant impact on our ability to protect the public.

“Despite considerable strain on local authority budgets in recent years, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has been able to deliver significant improvements to its capability across the county.

“During this time, there has been no reduction in the number of fire engines or fire stations and we have been able to make significant investments in new appliances and equipment.”