People from across Nottinghamshire have less than two weeks to have their say on two proposed changes to the way in which some of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service's (NFRS) fire engines are crewed. This comes as the 12-week public consultation, which was given the green light by the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority, enters its 10th week.
The consultation, which has already attracted in excess of 1,600 responses, is seeking views on the introduction of two new crewing models – mixed crewing and alternative crewing.
Already in use by other fire and rescue services across the country, mixed crewing would potentially see daytime crewing remain as it is currently – one wholetime and one retained appliance - with night-time fire cover provided by two retained fire engines, when demand is at its lowest. The stations at Ashfield, Retford and Worksop are being considered for this new model and if approved, would be introduced at two out of the three, over a phased implementation period. This would save NFRS in the region of £500,000 per year, per station.
Alternative crewing would potentially involve the 16 on-call crews already in operation in Nottinghamshire. Currently, a retained appliance is only mobilised when a team of four is available. If approved, the new proposal would see retained crews of three being sent to smaller, lower risk incidents, such as bin fires.
With the process now entering the latter stages, NFRS Group Manager, Mick Sharman, who helped to develop the proposals, is urging people to have their say – sooner, rather than later.
He said: "The message is really simple, whether people live in the city or county, we really want them to read about the proposals and then fill out the consultation survey. We want to know what people feel about these potential new crewing models being introduced in Nottinghamshire.
"The focus of the proposals is ensuring that we better align our resources to the demands the Service now faces, as well as delivering the savings that we still need to make. Our absolute priority is public safety, and these options do not involve job losses, the removal of fire engines or the closure of stations.
"Ultimately, we are a public service and we therefore want to hear the views of the public within Nottinghamshire."
Independent consultation experts, Opinion Research Services, are collating the responses to the survey, and will be presenting their findings to the Combined Fire Authority at a meeting in February 2018.
The findings will be used by the elected members to help in their decision-making process, to either implement these changes, or to look at other options. This, according to Mick, is why it is so important people have their say.
"The results of the consultation, and the views of people who have filled out the survey, will be play a key part in any decisions going forward – so it really is important that as many people as possible get involved."
More information about the proposals, and a link to the short survey, can be found here: www.opinionresearch.co.uk/nfrs.