WITH over 1,000 already signed up to their referendum petition, Hereford firefighters are going back out again.

Crews will be in High Town on Saturday, May 24,  asking  whether one full-time appliance on  24/7 emergency standby at Hereford fire station is enough.

They will be joined by a member of their own fire authority - Herefordshire councillor Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes - who has opposed the cut from the off.

The crews want the issue of full-time cover at the station put to a public vote.

At the first time of asking they secured more than 1,000 signatures for their petition from just six hours over a Saturday in High Town.

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

Many of those who signed said they were prepared to pay more in the council tax precept raised by the fire authority to keep current 999 cover.

An even bigger majority were unaware that a public consultation exercise on the issue had been concluded by Hereford & Worcester Fore & Rescue Authority (HWFRA).

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

The extent of the cuts has been outlined previously by the Hereford Times.

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, including the manning of specialist appliances, with Malvern as the nearest full-time back-up.

With a decision now due next month, HWFRA accepts that response times in the county will be compromised by cuts that save more than £767,000,  but maintains that, with the retained crews, enough support is in place.