Proposals must not go ahead
PUBLISHED: 11:14 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010
WE realise that resources must be reviewed and modernised on a regular basis to ensure that the best possible fire cover is given to residents serviced by Royston Fire Station. With this in mind we must object and ask Herts County Council not to go ahead
WE realise that resources must be reviewed and modernised on a regular basis to ensure that the best possible fire cover is given to residents serviced by Royston Fire Station. With this in mind we must object and ask Herts County Council not to go ahead with proposals which will not improve, but downgrade the service given to our residents and put lives at risk. The proposed changes would give the area reduced cover at weekends, relying totally on a retained crewing arrangement. At present we enjoy a local agreement which guarantees whole-time firefighters will turn out when called to crew; under the new suggestion the management is merely hopeful. Royston has one of the largest chemical factories in the county and, as proven recently by Buncefield, fires do happen when least expected. At present, we already have areas in the villages which cannot be reached within the national standard and these changes would mean that Royston area would have the first appliance arriving during the weekend at least three-five minutes later. (This number is the lowest suggested; our professionals say the figure is higher). The obvious knock-on effect would also be using the current performance levels on retained cover that the second appliance would arrive even later and probably not from Royston. The new Government Act involves a detailed Integrated Risk Management Plan, which has been carried out and is being used as the reason for change in Royston. This system assesses the risk in an area and allows management to then move resources to cover the possible risk. In our case, we believe that analysis to be flawed due to the simple fact the dwellings in Cambridgeshire have not been included and this accounts for 40 per cent of the calls attended by Royston Fire Station. On careful analysis, the Royston district currently has guaranteed cover for 126 hours-a-week (seven days with 12-hour full-time cover and midnight-6am retained) will be reduced to 60 hours (five days with 12-hour full-time cover). Guarantees to any additional retained cover will not exists without local agreement and that would mean a loss of 66 hours-a-week. In conclusion, the suggested changes are contrary to the strategic aims of the county council, are a reduction in service and, therefore, cannot be implemented without increasing the risk to the community. OLIVER HEALD MP County Cllr DOUG DRAKE Cllr TONY HUNTER Cllr F JOHN SMITH Cllr BILL DAVIDSON Cllr PETER BURT Cllr FIONA HILL Cllr HOWARD MARSHALL
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