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Press Release - Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service publish recommendations to Fire Authority following ‘Safer Together’ public consultation
Posted on 02/01/2020

UPDATE: For those planning to attend our Fire Authority meeting on Friday, please be aware that there will be no public parking available at our Headquarters site except for blue badge holders who require easier access. If you are a blue badge holder and will require reserved car parking, could you please confirm this in advance by telephoning 01392 872200. 

All other attendees should consider alternative travel arrangements. Entry into the building will be permitted from 9.45am for a 10am start. Should the public viewing area in the meeting room reach capacity, attendees will be able to hear a live audio feed from a larger room within the same building. Thank you.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has published its recommendations on how its services should be delivered in the future, following a public consultation exercise last year.

During the consultation, the Service held 27 drop-in sessions – attended by nearly 2,000 people. In total, 3,818 responses were received: 3,232 completed questionnaires, 205 written submissions and 381 email responses. In addition, five petitions were submitted with a total of 43,644 signatures.

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer, said: “Last summer we consulted on a number of options for change. We have also recently received Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) report which highlighted areas where we need to improve. After reflecting on staff suggestions, public feedback and considering how we need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Service, we have recommended a balanced set of proposals for consideration by the Fire Authority.

“We are presenting a significant investment in our ‘on call’ staff which will directly improve the availability of our fire engines. At the same time, we are suggesting closure of one fire station (Budleigh Salterton), relocation of another (Topsham) as well as removal of a number of low activity fire engines. Importantly, we are confident that we can secure alternative ways of working with our whole time staff which will allow us to undertake significantly more prevention and protection activity which will also make communities safer.”

The changes that the Service is recommending for approval by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority are to:

a) Defer the decision to implement day crewing at Barnstaple, Exmouth and Paignton subject to a revised 24/7 crewing model being agreed with the Fire Brigades Union, including roving appliances, before the end of the 19/20 financial year.
b) Close Budleigh Salterton fire station and allow affected firefighters to respond from Exmouth fire station. 
c) Relocate Topsham fire station to Service Headquarters (Clyst St George) and relocate one of the fire engines to Middlemoor fire station (both fire engines to be relocated to Service Headquarters until an on-call crew can be established at Middlemoor).
d) Remove the third fire engines from Bridgwater, Taunton, Torquay and Yeovil.
e) Remove the second fire engines from Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes.
f) Introduce variable fire engine availability dependent on risk. 

The full Fire Authority paper is available here. The Fire Authority will consider the recommendations at its meeting on 10 January 2020.


Notes to editors

Last year, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service consulted on a number of proposed changes to the way it responds to emergencies.

The proposed changes were intended to modernise the Service ensuring resources are allocated according to risk and enabling the service to increase its prevention and protection work.

The 12-week consultation took place between 3 July and 22 September 2019. The consultation gave 6 options for change, including the closure of eight fire stations, removal of second or third fire engines, and the introduction of new crewing arrangements. The questionnaire also gave respondents the opportunity to option mix and match elements of options 1 – 6.

The Service was pleased with the level of interest and response, and to have the chance to engage with the public and staff about how we work, the challenges we face, and our proposals for the future.

The results have been independently analysed, and the full report is available on our website.

Media attendance at the Fire Authority meeting

The Fire Authority meeting will take place at Service HQ, The Knowle, Clyst St George, Exeter EX3 0NW at 10am on Friday 10 January. If you are planning to attend please let us know by emailing or calling Paul Slaven on 01392 872259.

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