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Fire Authority promises more prevention, more protection and better response in new plan

A major consultation has been launched on proposals to strengthen Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s work in the community and improve its response to emergencies over the next four years.

On 2nd October, 2023, Cheshire Fire Authority published its draft Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP), its blueprint for the Service for 2024 to 2028. The Authority is inviting the public, fire and rescue service staff, and partners to have their say on the draft between now and 2 January, 2024.

The proposals include changing the way some fire engines are staffed, to guarantee more are available to respond to incidents during busy weekday daytimes and to carry out more visits to homes and businesses. The draft plan also sets out how the Service will address risks such as an ageing population, climate change and battery technology.

Cllr Stef Nelson, Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, said:

“We’re pleased to be able to present a package of proposals which address our challenges and deliver even more risk-reducing prevention and protection activity, and a better emergency response, at no additional cost.

“Our proposals reflect the ever-changing nature of fire risks in our county and the likely demands on the Service in the years ahead. We’ve also listened carefully to the views of the public, firefighters and fire staff as we’ve been developing our ideas.

“I would encourage everyone to read our draft plan and share their views over the coming weeks.”

The draft CRMP includes proposals to:

  • improve the way the Service measures and reports the time it takes firefighters to get to incidents
  • convert four on-call (part-time) fire engines at Runcorn, Winsford, Northwich and Macclesfield to full-time fire engines during weekday daytimes, to help improve emergency cover across Cheshire and undertake more prevention and protection work
  • staff the on-call fire engine at Knutsford with firefighters who work full-time during weekdays and respond on-call from houses across the road from the fire station at other times
  • reorganise the way full-time fire engines operate in the Warrington area, improving the spread of emergency cover and prevention and protection work across Birchwood and Stockton Heath
  • strengthen the on-call duty system, to make it more sustainable and more rewarding for on-call firefighters serving communities where there are fewer incidents.

There would be no change to the overall number of fire engines and fire stations across Cheshire. Five more full-time fire engines would be available during weekday daytimes, one more at weekends and one more at night. Twenty full-time firefighter posts would be created.

The Service would also be able to carry out at least 2,700 more home safety visits and 260 more business inspections each year.

Under the proposals, the number of on-call (part-time) firefighter posts would reduce by 85. However, 30 of these are vacant and of the remaining 55 on-call firefighters, 31 are already full-time firefighters and undertake their on-call role as a second job. The remaining 24 on-call firefighters would be offered full-time roles.

Alex Waller, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, said:

“These changes would help us deliver more prevention, more protection and a better response, keeping the communities of Cheshire even safer.

“However, we do recognise that a small group of colleagues are directly affected by the proposals. We will continue to work closely with them and their trade union representatives to provide support and minimise the impact of the changes.”

To learn more about the proposals, find out when local consultation roadshows are taking place near you or complete the Service’s online consultation survey visit: 

www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/crmp24-28

 

Pictured - Some of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service's newest wholetime firefighter recruits at the operational training centre in Winsford.

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