How cuts will affect your local fire station

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Making changes to save money and bring in more cash is a tall order for any organisation – but for the fire service it could be a matter of life and death.

However this is the daunting challenge the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service – along with other fire authorities across the country – is facing.

Cosham Fire Station

Cosham Fire Station

It needs to meet a shortfall of £12.2m over the next four financial years in response to a cut in government funding.

And to do that, for the past 18 months the service has been reviewing how each of its 51 stations performs, the number of staff available, the number and types of vehicles and the times and types of emergency calls made.

Here’s the station by station assessment for south-east Hampshire:-

Bishop’s Waltham

THIS is a retained station.

It has one fire engine with 12 firefighters on call during the day and night.

Its on-call availability is 100 per cent and the average response time is nine minutes and 15 seconds.

Under the proposals there would be one intermediate vehicle and a reduction to 10 firefighters on call day and night.

On-call availability would stay the same and the average response time would improve to eight minutes and 35 seconds, saving £14,000.

Cosham

THIS station currently has two fire engines with 15 full-time firefighters on during the day and night.

Its average response time is five minutes and 40 seconds.

It does not have on-call availability as the station is manned with full-time staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Under the proposals there would be one enhanced vehicle and one intermediate vehicle.

The response time would be slightly quicker and the average is estimated to be five minutes and 22 seconds.

The same number of firefighters would remain to cover the day and night, meaning there is no saving or cost.

Emsworth

THIS station is retained which means firefighters are not based on-site.

It currently has one fire engine and 12 firefighters on-call day and night.

Its on-call availability is 84 per cent and the average response time is six minutes and three seconds.

Under the proposals there would be one first response vehicle and reduction to eight firefighters on-call during the day and night.

On-call availability is expected to increase to 98 per cent and response time improve to five minutes and 52 seconds.

There would be a saving of £28,000.

Fareham

THIS station has a mixture of on-site and on-call firefighters.

It has two fire engines and seven full-time firefighters during the day and night, and 12 on-call during the day and night.

On-call availability is 88 per cent and average response time is six minutes and 19 seconds.

Under the proposals there would be one enhanced vehicle and one first response vehicle.

There would be seven firefighters on-site during the day and night and an increase to 13 firefighters on-call.

Call availability goes to 92.8 per cent, response remains and there’s a spend of £7,000.

Gosport

THIS station has two fire engines with seven firefighters on site in the day and night.

In addition it also has 13 retained firefighters who are on call 24/7. Its on-call availability is 96 per cent and average first response time is five minutes 36 seconds.

Option one would see one enhanced vehicle, one intermediate vehicle, and one response vehicle.

There would be seven firefighters at the station during the day and 18 on-call, but no firefighters on-site during the night and 18 on call at night.

The on-call availability would increase to 97.9 per cent, but response time in the night would be nine minutes and 45 seconds.

This option would save £490,208.

Option two would see one enhanced vehicle, one intermediate vehicle, and one response vehicle.

There would be seven firefighters at the station during the day and 10 on call, and there would be two firefighters at the station overnight and 10 on call at night. The on-call availability would be 97.9 per cent and the average response time would be five minutes and 15 seconds. This would save £317,134.

Havant

THIS station has both on-site and on-call firefighters.

It currently has two fire engines, with six firefighters at the station during the day and night and 12 on-call.

The on-call availability is 89 per cent and the average response time is five minutes and 44 seconds.

Under option one, there would be one enhanced vehicle and one first response vehicle, with seven staff on the day and 14 on-call.

There would be no firefighters in the station overnight and there would be 14 on-call.

This would give 93.8 per cent on-call availability, but an increase in night response time to 10 minutes and seven seconds. It would save £518,208.

Under option two, there would be one enhanced vehicle and one first response vehicle, seven staff on the day and 10 on-call.

At night two firefighters would be at the station, with 10 on call.

On-call availability would be 93.8 per cent and average response time would be five minutes and 37 seconds.

Savings of £317,134 would be made this way.

Hayling Island

THIS is a retained station which means firefighters are not based on-site.

It currently has two fire engines and 20 firefighters on-call for the day and the night.

Its on-call availability is 99.3 per cent and the average response time is seven minutes and four seconds.

Under the proposals there would be one enhanced vehicle and one first response vehicle, and a reduction to 14 on-call firefighters. On-call availability would remain and response would improve to six minutes and 40 seconds, while saving £42,000.

Horndean

THIS station is retained and means there are no firefighters based at the site.

It currently has one fire engine and 12 firefighters on-call during the day and night.

Its on-call availability is 93 per cent and the average response time is eight minutes and 29 seconds.

Under the proposal there would be one intermediate vehicle and a reduction to 10 on-call firefighters.

It would improve on-call availability to 99.5 per cent and improve average response times to seven minutes and 30 seconds, while saving £14,000.

Portchester

THIS station is retained which means it is not staffed by firefighters on-site.

It currently has a fire engine and 12 firefighters on call day and night.

Its on-call availability is 96 per cent and the average response time is five minutes and 24 seconds.

Under the proposals there would be one first response vehicle and a reduction to eight firefighters on-call during the day and night.

On-call availability is expected to increase to 99.5 per cent and average response time to five minutes and 15 seconds.

This would give a saving of £28,000.

Southsea

THIS station currently has three regular fire engines and has 20 staff at the station during the day and night.

Its average response time is five minutes and 49 seconds. It does not have on-call availability figures as the station is manned with full-time staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Under the proposals the number of vehicles would change – the station would have one enhanced vehicle, one intermediate vehicle and one first response vehicle.

The crew would fall from 20 to 16, during the day and night, saving £578,736.

Waterlooville

THIS is a retained station which means firefighters are not based on-site.

It currently has two fire engines and 20 firefighters on-call for the day and the night.

Its on-call availability is 99.4 per cent and the average response time is seven minutes and 52 seconds.

Under the proposals there would be one enhanced vehicle and one first response vehicle, and a reduction to 14 on-call firefighters.

On-call availability would remain and response would improve slightly, while saving £42,000.

Wickham

THIS station is retained which means firefighters are not permanently based on-site.

It currently has one fire engine and 12 firefighters on-call during the day and night.

Its on-call availability is 100 per cent and its average response time is seven minutes and 26 seconds.

Under the proposals it would have one intermediate vehicle and see a reduction of 12 to 10 on-call firefighters.

Availability would remain the same and average first response would improve slightly and there would be a saving of £14,000.

How the cuts would hit

One of the biggest changes the service would make is to its fleet of vehicles.

Under the proposals three types of vehicles would be available:

* First response vehicle – this would be smaller than the traditional fire engine and carry two to four firefighters.

It would be equipped to attend small bin fires to larger incidents such as building fires.

And it could go to serious road traffic accidents, and provide vital medical equipment for care.

It’s thought smaller vehicles will allow for a faster more efficient response and would be fitted with the latest equipment and firefighting technology.

* Intermediate response vehicle – this would also be smaller than a traditional fire engine but would be able to carry between two to five firefighters.

It would carry the same equipment as the first response vehicle, but would have greater water-carrying capacity, larger ladders and additional rescue equipment.

* Enhanced response vehicle – this would be a similar size to the current fire engine people are used to seeing.

It would carry between four to six firefighters and have a full range of heavy rescue equipment, a large pump and water-carrying capability as well as specialist foam suitable to fight all kinds of fire.

And although over the next four years there will be a loss in the number of front-line staff, the service believes better use of on-call availability would improve response times.

* On-call availability applies to retained fire stations, where firefighters must get to the station within four minutes and then be on an appliance and out the door in another minute. The figure refers to whether there are enough people on call to man an appliance.

It is thought having fewer crew members on call and fewer numbers on a vehicle will mean less time is wasted waiting for crew to arrive and man a vehicle.

The plans, which are due to go before the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority next Wednesday, have been met with a cautious welcome by politicians in the area.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said: ‘I’m pleased the service is planning to consult the public and I urge residents to look at the proposals and comment on them.

‘It’s important public confidence is retained and I welcome the modernisation of the fire service’s equipment which means they are better equipped and smaller for our narrow streets.

‘I’m concerned about the possible reduction in staff and will be monitoring this closely.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones said: ‘My biggest concern is having the aerial ladder platform being retained in Southsea as we have a lot of high-rise buildings with further development along the way.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘It’s up to the fire service to come up with plans to keep the community safe.’

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘Option two would be better for Gosport as there would be significant savings and response times are better than option one.’

Under the plan, Fareham station would see more money.

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘It’s well-situated to access other parts of Hampshire.

‘It’s only right this is reflected in the number of staff and vehicles.’

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, who serves on Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: ‘I would hope the changes do not have an impact on the community.

‘I think the proposals have been thought out very carefully.’

Havant Borough Council leader Mike Cheshire and Havant MP Alan Mak declined to comment.