West Sussex County Council formally approved on Monday (September 22nd) changes to the way West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service will operate.
Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, Lionel Barnard, responsible for fire and rescue, said the decision will create a fire service that is fit for the 21st century and will meet the needs of West Sussex residents now and in the future.
The proposals, which will save £1.6million , include:
- Keeping all fire stations open, but changing the way fire engines are crewed by introducing new shift patterns and reducing the overall number of staff, including firefighters.
- Broadening the prevention role of firefighters, and investing in specialist equipment and training to support communities during severe weather and widespread flooding.
Lionel said: “We have listened to everyone who contacted us with views about the proposals during the 12-week consultation, and the comments made by the Environmental Services Select Committee last week, and I’ve taken the decision that I have because the evidence is there to support it.
“The number of emergency calls the fire service receives has fallen, and the types of incident crews respond to has changed. We need to adapt our service to reflect this.
“This isn’t just about money. If we didn’t have to save a penny these changes would still be needed because this is about improving our service and building a fire service that is fit for the 21st century.”
The Environmental Services Select Committee will formally review any impact from the changes one year after their implementation.
Lionel’s full decision report is published in full on West Sussex County Council’s website.