As a member of Essex County Council I am also a member of Essex Fire Authority. Meetings for this are every quarter plus other meetings for sub-committees.
Last week the meeting was largely devoted to the Integrated Risk Management Plan Consultation Plan 2015-2020 over the future of the Fire Service. There is an online consultation which can be completed here.
In the forward to the document it says:
“Our aim is to lead the way to a safer Essex. This is your Fire and Rescue Service and we believe we should explain what we do, work with you where we can and understand what is important to you. This year we are consulting all our stakeholders twice. First, we will consult on our standards and principles. Later we will consult on the range of ways we can provide our services.
The results of this first consultation will help us develop the options we consult on later in the year. These options could include reviewing our capacity to prevent and protect against risks, and reviewing the number and location of fire engines and fire stations which may involve moving, merging, closing or co-locating with other blue-light services to support our proposed response standards.
As you can see from the final paragraph this will include a review of Fire Stations and Fire Fighters with possible cuts being proposed to fund future budget cuts. There can be no doubt that there are fewer fires and much of this is down to the preventative work by the Fire Service in Education and Awareness campaigns. However there are real fears over cuts to personnel and how this could affect response time to emergencies.
Please take a few minutes to fill out the form as it is your service that will be changing based on the responses to this service.