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Sussex fire stations could lose engines and firefighters in £1.7m cuts plan
5:00am Friday 7th February 2014 in News
Plans to make up to £1.7 million savings at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) could see stations downgraded and firefighters made redundant.
Removing a fire engine from Preston Circus or Hove fire station, cutting up to 44 firefighters from Brighton and Hastings and downgrading Roedean Fire Station in Brighton and The Ridge Fire Station in Hastings are options being considered by the service.
A statement from the service said it had to meet "the twin challenges of changing needs within the community and reductions in its funding".
It added: "The number of incidents has fallen over the years as prevention work continues to reduce the risks of fires and other emergencies.
"Meanwhile funding has been reduced due to cuts in Government grants and pressures to keep Council Tax levels low."
Proposal 1: To remove a fire engine from either Preston Circus or Hove, which would leave four fire engines in the city which are crewed 24 hours a day.
The move would see 24 jobs lost and save the service £1.066 million by 2018/19.
ESFRS said: "This change would have no significant impact on life risk and attendance standards would still be met."
a: Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a new Day Crewed Duty System. The station could then provide cover 7 days a week instead of 5, supporting Hastings, where the Retained Duty System fire engine could be removed from.
The service said: "This attends a low number of calls and so removing it is predicted to have no significant impact on service performance.
"This would mean we increase the establishment at Battle whilst reducing the number of on call firefighters at The Ridge."
It would save £14,000 by 2018/19.
b: Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a retained duty system, reducing .the number of Wholetime posts at Battle by 9.
The service said: "This would mean both fire engines are kept at The Ridge in Hastings. Battle has a low number of calls and analysis shows there would be no significant impact on Service performance."
It could save £200,000 by 2018/19.
Introduce Day Crewed Plus at Roedean Fire Station in Brighton and The Ridge Fire Station in Hastings, both currently Wholetime stations.
The service said: "Day Crewed Plus would be a new way of working for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and is successfully used by other fire and rescue services across England.
"It means that firefighters stay in accommodation provided by us on site on a self rostering duty system.
"They are therefore still ready to turn out 24 hours a day. This option would mean we could save money by reducing posts but it would not affect attendance times."
20 jobs would be lost, saving £432,000 by 2018/19.
Savings of up to £1.698 million could be made if all three proposals are given the go ahead.
At its meeting on Friday February 14, the fire authority will consider its budget and Council Tax and decide whether to go to public consultation on a number of proposals to change the service over the next five years.
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