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Press Release - Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority approves recommendations
Posted on 10/01/2020

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority has approved recommendations on changes to how the Service operates, at a meeting held today (Friday 10 January).

The changes, which the Service will now start to implement, are as follows:

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) Relocation of Topsham fire station to Service Headquarters and relocation of one fire appliance to Middlemoor fire station (both existing Topsham fire appliances to be relocated to Service Headquarters until an On-call crew can be established at Middlemoor), with a report detailing options for the disposal of Topsham fire station to be presented to the Authority at a future date
d) The third fire engines from Bridgwater, Taunton, Torquay and Yeovil to be replaced with alternative vehicles.
e) Remove the second fire engines from Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes.
f) Introduce variable fire engine availability dependent on risk.

The Fire Authority asked that existing performance measures be reviewed, and that any necessary additional measures are developed, to monitor against expected improvements. For example on-call fire engine availability, emergency response standards and levels of prevention and protection activity.

Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, Chair of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, said it was important that firefighters and residents now had more certainty about the future.

She said: “We had a long and detailed consultation period over the summer during which people made it very clear how much they value the fire service. Although there were difficult conversations at times, I was pleased to hear how strongly the public and staff felt connected to their local fire stations.

“Members have considered all these proposals at length and have thought very carefully about the impact our decisions may have on the Service, staff and the public. These changes will enable the Service to move resources to the areas where they are most needed. Importantly, they will also enable greater investment in prevention and protection work to try to prevent incidents occurring – keeping people safer in the places they live, work and visit.

“It is important for people living near one of the affected fire stations to remember that they will continue to receive a response from fire crews in the unlikely event that they need one. We now need to work with Service staff and our local communities to implement these changes in the most effective way.”

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.

The full Fire Authority paper is available here.

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