Safety fears over fire station cuts plan

Jobs could be lost at South Shore fire station while Blackpool fire station could lose one of its engines.

Jobs could be lost at South Shore fire station while Blackpool fire station could lose one of its engines.

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Proposed cuts to the fire service which could see fewer firefighters in parts of the Fylde have today been branded “a recipe for disaster” by a union chief.

Planned cuts are set to include the loss of one fire engine from Blackpool fire station and the possibility of jobs being lost at South Shore fire station.

The proposals have been made after a 25 per cent cut in funding to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) by central Government, meaning £10m of savings needs to be made by April 2016.

But Chris Molloy, the Fire Brigades Union’s Blackpool representative, has slammed the impact the changes could have on the service’s ability to tackle life-threatening fires properly.

He said: “We’re going to end up with a situation by 2017 where, on the whole of the 
Fylde coast, only one station will be full-time.

“If you’re also dropping that station to having one fire engine it’s a recipe for disaster.”

The plans have been outlined in the LFRS emergency cover review, which states: “The current provision for emergency cover at Blackpool fire station is two whole-time fire engines and crews.

“We propose to reduce this to one fire engine. The Fylde coast, from Bispham to Lytham, has the biggest concentration of fire engines in the county.

“This reduction offers us an opportunity to save £1m by withdrawing a fire engine whilst being confident that response times can be maintained and risk levels protected.”

But Mr Molloy claims the ability to deal with emergencies will be reduced as a result.

He said: “We’re going to be fatigued and overworked.

“The public pay for a service and that service is being reduced, whatever way they try and dress it up. You can argue the case so far but do we want to be safe in our beds at night or not?”

A 12-week consultation on the proposals begins from July 29.

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