Firefighters may be cut as fire service seeks savings

Sleaford Fire Station.

Sleaford Fire Station.

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Seven firefighter posts are at risk of being lost across eight fire stations in Lincolnshire, including Sleaford’s, in a bid to save money.

The cuts form part of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s proposals for the coming financial year.

The service has been set a savings target of £296,000 for 2015/16 by the austerity-hit Lincolnshire County Council.

However, the service is planning further ahead and hopes to save £1.23m over four years.

The seven wholetime firefighter posts would be lost across the county’s eight wholetime fire stations, one of which is in Sleaford.

In light of the plans, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has moved to reassure residents.

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

“The county council has to find annual savings of £90m and it’s only right the fire service plays its part.

“However, we will do this in a way that will minimise the impact on frontline services.”

The potential loss of seven wholetime roles (out of a 
total of 140 for the county) equates to a saving of 
£315,000.

The fire service anticipates the reduction would be managed through normal retirements and the filling of existing vacancies.

Members of the public are being asked for their say on the cuts, along with other proposals for the coming financial year.

Some are potential savings, while others are just changes to the way the service would work.

They are detailed in the so-called ‘Integrated Risk Management Planning Consultation Document’ and include:

○ Changing Lincoln North and Lincoln Fire stations to a system in which firefighters are ‘on call’, rather than on site, at night.

○ Reducing the minimum number of crew members needed for smaller incidents from four to three.

○ Updating response time targets for house fires and crashes.

Members of the public have until February 6 to have their say on the plans.

Find the Integrated Risk Management Planning Consultation Document at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lincolnshire-fire-and-rescue.