Fire service proposals to meet a multi-million pound financial shortfall by reducing the number of firefighters on a fire engine from five to four will be considered by its governing Authority.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the only alternative to making the change- which has already been adopted by many other services nationwide- is to reduce the speed of its 999 response during the night time period from up to half of its fire stations.
The organisation faces cost pressures of up to £4 million, due to no longer being able to use a way of staffing fire stations called Close Proximity Crewing which and because it may have to meet a significant, national shortfall in pension contributions.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, said: “We’d rather not make any changes at all, but have a duty to match our resources to local risk and to manage the service in a financially responsible way.
“We face cost pressures of up to £4 million and the extent of the savings required is inevitably going to mean changes to the way we provide our 999 service to the public.
“We think it is better to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine, than it is to slow down our response times by reducing the number of fire engines which are immediately available.
“Our fire engines already attend incidents with four firefighters about a third of the time- and many other UK fire services already ride with four as a norm.”
All fire and rescue authorities must provide a plan which sets out the steps they will take and resources they need to improve public safety, reduce fires and save lives. This is known as an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). It must be publicly available, reflect consultation with stakeholders and demonstrate the most up-to-date analysis of local risk.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s draft IRMP will be considered by Fire Authority members at its meeting on Monday 8 April. If approved, the plans will then be consulted on with members of the public.