Strong support for Hereford fire-fighters battling cuts.

Ledbury Reporter: Strong support for Hereford fire-fighters battling cuts. Strong support for Hereford fire-fighters battling cuts.

HEREFORD fire fighters secured over 1,000 signatures in just six hours to support a referendum on cuts to 24/7 emergency cover out of the city’s fire station.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) organisers said the response – totalling 1,065 signatures - was “overwhelming”. 

The signatures were collected over six hours in High Town, Hereford, on Saturday.

Many signing indicated that they were prepared to pay more in the council tax precept raised by the fire service to keep current 999 cover.

A huge majority of those people asked were not aware that a public consultation exercise had been concluded by Hereford and Worcester Fire & Rescue Authority (HWFRA).

On this basis, the FBU calls the consultation process a “failure”.

Another petition is planned for Saturday, May 24.

FBU members at Hereford fire station want a referendum on cuts they say leave the county with “dangerous” emergency cover.

The FBU has challenged HWFRA to put the proposed cuts to a public vote.

As proposed,  full-time 24/7  first response fire and rescue fire cover at Hereford fire station comes down to a single appliance and no more than seven fire fighters on a shift.

Those seven - presuming all are present -  would be the full-time 999 response for the whole county.

“We want a simple yes or no referendum as to whether or not the public find this acceptable for a county like Herefordshire,” said area FBU secretary Steve Gould.

“If they don’t then are they prepared to pay a few pounds more on the fire service council tax precept  to keep a second appliance crewed,” he said.

The FBU case is that single full-time appliance cover is dangerous when the seven, or fewer, full-time fire fighters on shift faced crewing not only the  appliance but specialist functions also operating out of Hereford station like an aerial ladder unit and rescue boat.

In theory, the nearest full-time back-up would be from Malvern. 

Realistically, support for the single crew would come from the retained crew of the on-call appliance at Hereford station and, beyond that, the retained crews around the county, which face cuts of their own under the plan.

“This puts more pressure on retained crews and their employers,” said Mr Gould.

“Ten years ago full time watch numbers were in double figures,  now we have to say at least eight are needed on shift – and that’s not ideal,” he said.

HWFRA accepts that response times in the county will be compromised by cuts that save more than £767k,  but maintains that, with the retained crews, enough support is in place.

Service figures show an average of around 900 incidents a year within the Hereford station area including  100 fires in buildings and 60 road traffic collisions.

Average response times currently range between 10-15 minutes.
Against this, the cut proposed for Hereford would cost 22 full-time  fire fighters their jobs.

Another 48 of the county’s retained fire fighters lose their roles too, with rural stations at Bromyard, Kingsland, Ledbury, Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and Whitchurch,  reduced to a single appliance or closed completely.

In February, HWFRA put the cuts plan hold as a single vote margin secured the shifting of £485k from the a £1.5m surplus into the revenue budget to help cover costs.

A further decision is due in June.

Comments (5)

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12:53pm Mon 12 May 14

Major disaster says...

The fire service is not experiencing as deep financial cuts as the police force. Police officers quite rightly as one of the primary emergency services are not permitted to strike, they do not even work to rule. Salary cuts, pension cuts, working longer for less etc etc, but police don't publicly complain or gather names on petitions. I am sure that many people would pay more council tax precept to see more police officers on the beat. The police in this country get a raw deal from politicians and the press always bemoaning when things go wrong. Sadly there are bad apples in every barrel. There are thousands of police officers that do a fantastic job day in day out, put themselves in danger to protect the public and are the the service that everybody calls when they require assistance - whatever that may be. Figures mean nothing unless you have a comparison, how many people refused to sign the petition, or walked the other way to avoid being asked, that would be more interesting!
The fire service is not experiencing as deep financial cuts as the police force. Police officers quite rightly as one of the primary emergency services are not permitted to strike, they do not even work to rule. Salary cuts, pension cuts, working longer for less etc etc, but police don't publicly complain or gather names on petitions. I am sure that many people would pay more council tax precept to see more police officers on the beat. The police in this country get a raw deal from politicians and the press always bemoaning when things go wrong. Sadly there are bad apples in every barrel. There are thousands of police officers that do a fantastic job day in day out, put themselves in danger to protect the public and are the the service that everybody calls when they require assistance - whatever that may be. Figures mean nothing unless you have a comparison, how many people refused to sign the petition, or walked the other way to avoid being asked, that would be more interesting! Major disaster
  • Score: 1

2:06pm Mon 12 May 14

Aquarius says...

If the Fire Services nationwide were cut to a level more appropriate to the level of their actual workload these days, there would be deeper cuts made.

The fact is that most Fire Services remain over-resourced. The number of emergency fire calls is reducing because of better fire safety and yet both fire stations and control rooms are overstaffed. The FBU constantly trot out the "lives will be lost!" mantra, relying on public fears. Fire Services have to keep within their means the same as every other public service has to.

Both the police and the Ambulance Service (ESPECIALLY the Ambulance Service) are hugely more busy in terms of call volume and they are struggling all over the country. The Fire Service is just not as busy as once it was, and all these fire service staff who seem to think they are a special case should get over themselves.
If the Fire Services nationwide were cut to a level more appropriate to the level of their actual workload these days, there would be deeper cuts made. The fact is that most Fire Services remain over-resourced. The number of emergency fire calls is reducing because of better fire safety and yet both fire stations and control rooms are overstaffed. The FBU constantly trot out the "lives will be lost!" mantra, relying on public fears. Fire Services have to keep within their means the same as every other public service has to. Both the police and the Ambulance Service (ESPECIALLY the Ambulance Service) are hugely more busy in terms of call volume and they are struggling all over the country. The Fire Service is just not as busy as once it was, and all these fire service staff who seem to think they are a special case should get over themselves. Aquarius
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Mon 12 May 14

Aquarius says...

Oh, and stop these highly unscientific 'polls' asking people to keep paying more in council tax every year, eh? Relying on the fear factor again....

I'm sure the call figures totally support a reduction at Hereford (and elsewhere too). Time for a merger with Shropshire - another less and less busy Service constantly asking the public to stump up more cash.
Oh, and stop these highly unscientific 'polls' asking people to keep paying more in council tax every year, eh? Relying on the fear factor again.... I'm sure the call figures totally support a reduction at Hereford (and elsewhere too). Time for a merger with Shropshire - another less and less busy Service constantly asking the public to stump up more cash. Aquarius
  • Score: 1

4:19pm Mon 12 May 14

megilleland says...

If Hereford is to have only one fire appliance then they can keep it in Cllr Tony Johnson's or Cllr Harry Bramer's garage and save the Old Boys Working Home (Council Offices, Bath Street) from demolition.
If Hereford is to have only one fire appliance then they can keep it in Cllr Tony Johnson's or Cllr Harry Bramer's garage and save the Old Boys Working Home (Council Offices, Bath Street) from demolition. megilleland
  • Score: 1

8:49am Tue 13 May 14

Real Facts says...

Aquarius wrote:
If the Fire Services nationwide were cut to a level more appropriate to the level of their actual workload these days, there would be deeper cuts made.

The fact is that most Fire Services remain over-resourced. The number of emergency fire calls is reducing because of better fire safety and yet both fire stations and control rooms are overstaffed. The FBU constantly trot out the "lives will be lost!" mantra, relying on public fears. Fire Services have to keep within their means the same as every other public service has to.

Both the police and the Ambulance Service (ESPECIALLY the Ambulance Service) are hugely more busy in terms of call volume and they are struggling all over the country. The Fire Service is just not as busy as once it was, and all these fire service staff who seem to think they are a special case should get over themselves.
Fatal House Fires

Here you go, just a quickly skimmed list from Google.
January 30th, Manchester Road, Boulton. One Death.
February 8th, Addiscombe Court Road Croydon. One Death.
March 3rd, Poplar Av Beighton South Yorks. One Death.
March 5th, Broomrig Court Dumfries. One Death.
April 28th, Wake Road Sheffield. Five Deaths.
April 29th, Farfield Road Garforth. One Death.
May 8th, Moscow Drive Liverpool. Two Deaths.
May 10th, Acton Street Middlesbrough. One Death.

You cannot say that Firfighters have nothing to do. To base cuts on call frequency is ridiculous. As long as there are people living in houses there is the potential for a house fire.
Now this doesn't include Road Traffic Collisions, Chemical Spillages, Field Fires, Barn Fires and river rescues.

They don't happen every day. They don't necessarily happen every week but when you need them nothing else will do. You can't compare them to the Ambulance Service - the "Problem" is totally different. A Fire and Rescue Service is like an insurance policy.
Only a fool would cut that!

Who will you call if your home catches fire?
[quote][p][bold]Aquarius[/bold] wrote: If the Fire Services nationwide were cut to a level more appropriate to the level of their actual workload these days, there would be deeper cuts made. The fact is that most Fire Services remain over-resourced. The number of emergency fire calls is reducing because of better fire safety and yet both fire stations and control rooms are overstaffed. The FBU constantly trot out the "lives will be lost!" mantra, relying on public fears. Fire Services have to keep within their means the same as every other public service has to. Both the police and the Ambulance Service (ESPECIALLY the Ambulance Service) are hugely more busy in terms of call volume and they are struggling all over the country. The Fire Service is just not as busy as once it was, and all these fire service staff who seem to think they are a special case should get over themselves.[/p][/quote]Fatal House Fires Here you go, just a quickly skimmed list from Google. January 30th, Manchester Road, Boulton. One Death. February 8th, Addiscombe Court Road Croydon. One Death. March 3rd, Poplar Av Beighton South Yorks. One Death. March 5th, Broomrig Court Dumfries. One Death. April 28th, Wake Road Sheffield. Five Deaths. April 29th, Farfield Road Garforth. One Death. May 8th, Moscow Drive Liverpool. Two Deaths. May 10th, Acton Street Middlesbrough. One Death. You cannot say that Firfighters have nothing to do. To base cuts on call frequency is ridiculous. As long as there are people living in houses there is the potential for a house fire. Now this doesn't include Road Traffic Collisions, Chemical Spillages, Field Fires, Barn Fires and river rescues. They don't happen every day. They don't necessarily happen every week but when you need them nothing else will do. You can't compare them to the Ambulance Service - the "Problem" is totally different. A Fire and Rescue Service is like an insurance policy. Only a fool would cut that! Who will you call if your home catches fire? Real Facts
  • Score: 3

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