Proposals to introduce a Mixed Crewing model at Ashfield and Retford Fire Stations have today, Friday 16 February, been approved by the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority.
The decision was made by councillors at a meeting of the full Authority, following a 12-week public consultation on the proposals – which closed on Sunday 17 December last year.
With the approval now given staff at the affected stations will be consulted with around the implementation of the changes.
It is expected that the Mixed Crewing system – which would see wholetime firefighters providing fire cover in the day, and retained, on-call firefighters providing cover at night – will be fully in place by April 2019.
"The decisions made by the Fire Authority today follow on from a lot of work that has been done in recent weeks, months and years to ensure that Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is a sustainable organisation that is fit for the future," said Councillor Brian Grocock, Chair of the Fire Authority.
"The Mixed Crewing model, in particular, is designed to address several issues for us – primarily the need to ensure the resources we have are in line with the demand we now face, following a 40 per cent reduction in the demand on our operational resources over a sustained period of time.
"This new model will also help us provide an alternative working pattern for firefighters who now have to work until they are 60-years-old, and reflects the change in demand between day and night-time.
"We wanted to address these issues without closing fire stations or reducing the number of appliances we have in our fleet – and we hope that utilising the Mixed Crewing model, a proven crewing system that is in use across the country, will allow us to do this.
"Going forward the Chief Fire Officer and his team will be working hard to implement the new system as smoothly and effectively as possible, and will be consulting with all staff that will be affected by the change in the coming weeks. The Authority has asked for regular, periodic reviews on the progress and potential impact of the changes to ensure that this is the case."
The meeting also saw plans to introduce an Alternative Crewing model, which involves retained appliances across the county being sent out with a crew of three to a small number of incident types, given the go ahead.
This Alternative Crewing concept is also already in use by other Fire and Rescue Services across the UK – and whilst it won't generate any cost savings, it will increase retained appliance availability across the county.
It is anticipated that Mixed Crewing – when fully introduced - will save the Fire Authority around £500,000 per year, per station, generating a £1m saving per year in total.
Around £200,000 of this saving, however, will be re-invested into the enhancement and resilience of the retained duty system – resulting in the actual savings being in the region of £800,000 per year.