FABRICANT SLAMS STAFFORDSHIRE FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE CHIEFS PROPOSALS AS “IRRESPONSIBLE AND RECKLESS”
“Proposals for Lichfield outlined by the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, HQ’d in Stafford, are irresponsible and reckless” says Michael Fabricant.
“Their stubborn refusal to work with the police and combine back office functions, such as HR and accounts, could save as much as £10 million each year, possibly more, but instead they have chosen to cut back on equipment and personnel endangering lives and property. I have written to the Chief Fire Officer saying that I am disappointed they are not in serious discussions with Matthew Ellis, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and Staffordshire Police who has proposed this plan.
“Meanwhile, a new Fire Station is being constructed in Lichfield for hundreds of thousands of pounds, while they are diminishing the response service that will be provided from their sparkling new building.
“They recommend the removal of one of the two fire engines and replace it with a ‘Targeted Response Vehicle’. However, this will seriously reduce operational cover within Lichfield. The TRV is a small specialised vehicle which will only able to respond to small fires, such as grass fires. The TRV will not respond to high risk calls such as house fires and road traffic accidents.
“If the main fire engine is attending incidents in other areas, then there will be no high risk cover in Lichfield at all.
“This is unacceptable and could be life threatening” says Michael. “Lichfield is the only Wholetime fire station to have an operational large Scania fire engine removed. It is as if Lichfield is being singled out.
“Moreover, Lichfield staffing is already far smaller than that of Tamworth and further cuts are proposed.
“The wholetime establishment in Lichfield is 14 personnel compared to Tamworth’s 28. Yet Lichfield’s fire crews attended 265 incidents in May 2015 while Tamworth attended 263 over a smaller area.
“I applaud the fire fighters in Lichfield whom I met again last Friday. They are trying hard to maximise their output. They are currently trialling running two large fire engines at night by riding just 4 firefighters on each appliance. The standard number is normally 5. This is no more personnel than Stafford’s proposal for only one fire engine and an inadequate Targeted Response Vehicle.
“With so many historic and vulnerable buildings within Lichfield City, the fire service should be filling the expensive new station with more equipment and fire fighters – not fewer.
“If Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service worked with Staffordshire Police on back office functions instead of adhering to an old fashioned approach to management, they could be doing just that” Michael adds.