Bucks Fire Public Safety Plan reviews to start

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Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority has given the go-ahead for work to start on the four reviews proposed in the Public Safety Plan, the draft five-year blueprint for the future of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service.

Members made the decision after considering a 139-page report, which included consultation feedback and management responses, at their meeting yesterday in Milton Keynes.

A report on the reviews will be taken to the Fire Authority’s budget-setting meeting in February next year.

The Public Safety Plan contains a number of options for consideration as the organisation seeks to make savings and find more flexible ways of working.

The reviews will focus on:Aerial appliance provision and crewing arrangements. An aerial appliance is a vehicle with an extending turntable ladder that enables firefighters to work at heights of up to 32 metres.

Crewing arrangements at day-crewed fire stations. Day-crewed fire stations are crewed by full-time firefighters between 9am and 6pm, seven days a week, with night cover provided by the same crew on an on-call basis.

Provision of appliances and crewing arrangements at wholetime fire stations. Wholetime fire stations are crewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by full-time firefighters.

Urban Search and Rescue provision and crewing arrangements. Our Urban Search and Rescue staff, equipment and vehicles form part of a national network of bases which help deal with the aftermath of major emergencies such as collapsed buildings, major transportation incidents, natural disasters and terrorist activity.

Chairman Councillor David Rowlands said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part in the consultation for their support and input.

“Our planning principles for these reviews include no reduction in the number of fire stations, and no job losses where possible except through natural wastage. When you consider what is happening elsewhere in the country, this leaves us much better-placed than many other fire services.”

The other principles are:

All proposals to be subject to full risk and impact assessments and data analysis using nationally recognised models.

No, or minimal, change in the time taken by the first appliance to arrive at an incident.

No, or minimal, impact upon the speed or weight of response.

Exploration of more flexible or new ways of working.

The organisation will continue to seek further efficiencies in managerial and support arrangements.

The consultation period, which ran from 21 June to 30 August, included an online survey, two public engagement forums and four staff focus groups. In addition, more than 500 local organisations and community leaders were invited to take part.

The survey generated 107 completed responses, and an article about the consultation on the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service website was viewed more than 1,300 times. The electronic version of the Public Safety Plan was viewed or downloaded more than 700 times.

An audio version was produced following a request from a partially-sighted member of the public.