Two extra fire engines have been introduced in South Yorkshire, under plans approved by councillors.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the plans mean it will continue to provide the best possible service to local people within the resources available to it, despite having lost more than £14 million from its annual budget since 2010.
Key changes in the service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-20, approved by its governing Fire Authority, include:
- Changing the staffing of the second fire engine at Sheffield’s Central fire station so that it is available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night
- Adding two additional fire engines at two fire stations in South Yorkshire, which would also be available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night
- Continuing to offer fire prevention guidance to all, but prioritising its free Home Safety Checks service for those who the service believes are at the greatest risk of fire
- Finding further ways of working more closely with the police and ambulance services, as a new law now makes it a requirement for all emergency services to do
The plans also explain how the fire service will respond to Government’s efforts to reform the fire service nationally, including requirements to provide a more flexible and diverse workforce.
Following feedback from staff and the public during the consultation phase, the service says it will keep the second fire engine at Central fire station as a full time appliance if its funding allows.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Our vision for the lifetime of this plan is to provide the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire within the resources which are available to us.
For us, that means making more of our firefighters available in the day when crews are busiest, changing our prevention work to focus on those most at risk and proactively exploring collaboration opportunities with other emergency services. We were pleased that lots of local people came forward to share their views on our proposals and, now they have been approved, we will be working hard to put those plans into action.”
Fire Authority Vice Chair Cllr Alan Atkin, said: “It is expected that the Fire and Rescue Authority will face a further £2m in cuts up to 2020 on top of the £14m it has already saved in the past 7 years. These proposals represent the best options available to the Service so as to maintain the level of fire cover in South Yorkshire that the public expect”
All fire and rescue authorities must provide a plan which sets out the steps they will take and resources they need to improve public safety, reduce fires and save lives. This is known as an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). It must be publicly available, reflect consultation with stakeholders and demonstrate the most up-to-date analysis of local risk.