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Plan to cut firefighters across Sussex
The number of frontline firefighters on duty at two of Sussex’s stations could be reduced to help make £2.5million of savings.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) is consulting members of the public on its planned cuts, which would also include reducing the number of senior managers by a quarter and cutting their fleet of emergency vehicles by 10%.
Changes to the crewing arrangements at Worthing and Crawley fire stations could see the number of firefighters at the stations cut by eight posts to save £310,000 – however they hope to be able to make the cuts without making compulsory redundancies.
Worthing and Crawley fire stations each currently have two firefighters dedicated to manning specialised equipment on duty at any time.
By changing this system so alternate members of the team could all use the equipment, they hope to be able to reduce staff by two firefighters on each shift at each station.
The fire service said: “This would still leave a minimum of nine firefighters on duty at each station to crew the two fire engines and/or the Heavy Rescue Tender or Aerial Ladder Platform under the alternate crewing system.
“We believe the reduction in posts at Crawley or Worthing could be achieved through natural turnover of staff and not filling vacancies elsewhere in WSFRS, and without the need for compulsory redundancies.”
“We aim to identify estimated savings of £310,000 from this review.
“The fleet review will look for further opportunities to reduce the number of vehicles required, limit the number of journeys made, and help to reduce carbon emissions.
“The project has been tasked with identifying a minimum 10% reduction in the number of vehicles and a subsequent reduction in annual running costs yielding a minimum savings of £55,000 per annum.”
The service is also hoping to save £560,000 with a review of their senior and middle management structure – including cutting 25% of senior management posts.
Another £350,000 could be saved by crews at Horley fire station working closer with Crawley.
They also hope to save £340,000 by centralising support roles, such as admin, HR and payroll staff, with West Sussex County Council and cut the number of offices used by fire safety officers to save £160,000.
Residents are being asked to have their say on the proposals, which can be viewed in full at www.westsussex.gov.uk .
You can give your feedback via the survey at www.surveymonkey. com/s/wsfrs2012consultation until September 21.