Public help to save town’s fire engine

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BUXTON’S second fire appliance has been saved from the axe – along with the jobs of five retained firefighters.

Derbyshire Fire Authority last week agreed to maintain the second appliance at Buxton, as well as at two other stations in the county. The jobs of up to five retained or “on-call” firefighters were also secured.

The Authority also agreed to replace the fire engine with an alternative vehicle in due course for a more effective response to automatic fire alarms, secondary fires and traffic collisions.

Derbyshire Fire Authority had started consulting on plans to remove the second appliance at four stations across the county earlier this year because they said they appeared to “contribute very little to fire cover requirements.”

However, the authority have now agreed to a U-turn over the plans, part of their Emergency Cover Review, with only Shirebrook Fire Station in Chesterfield set to lose its second appliance.

Consultation took place with affected staff as well as through public meetings.

Comments made during this process helped influence the final decision, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service have confirmed.

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Sean Frayne said: “The consultation process for the Emergency Cover Review revealed the concerns of communities if a fire appliance was to be removed from their town, but it also showed the high regard that is held for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and the firefighters that perform such an important role.

“We will continue to provide the best service we can with the resources we have available to progress our vision of making Derbyshire a safer place to live, work and visit.”

Speaking to the Advertiser after the meeting, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Waldie said: “We like to be reactive to public wants and needs and their comments influenced the decision.

“If it was purely a financial basis we would be looking at removing these appliances because we can’t see the benefit in keeping them.

“The thing about the Buxton area is its remote location from some of the other stations and concern about the number of road traffic accidents which we acknowledge. This is not just about having equipment, it’s about security for the members of the public who pay their taxes.”

Mr Waldie added that no decision had yet been made as to what the second appliance at Buxton would be replaced with.

“We haven’t got a definite (replacement) in mind,” he said. “There are some on the market that have got up to five seats in them anyway.

“It is going to be a smaller vehicle that’s not just going to be able to respond to things like small fires, road traffic collisions and automatic fire alarms.

“It will also have the capacity to support larger appliances at larger incidents as well. It will still require these crews.”

The Emergency Cover Review will now be carried out every three years. However, Mr Waldie said it was unlikely that the second appliance at Buxton would be looked at again in the next review.

“But that does very much rely on how the demographics and the risks within an area and the resilience and equipment match up with service changes.”