West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) has announced draft proposals to cut £1.6 million from its budget for 2015/16 according to frmjournal.

The proposals will be considered by West Sussex County Council’s Environment and Community Services Select Committee on 14 May, after which a decision on whether they should go forward for public consultation will be taken by Lionel Barnard, the Cabinet member for residents’ services. The draft plans include to:

  • keep all fire stations open, but change the way appliances are crewed
  • introduce new shift patterns and reduce the overall number of staff, including firefighters
  • maintain the same number of immediate response fire engines, but move one from a temporary base to a permanent location and remove some second appliances, and one third appliance
  • enhance resilience and existing community safety work with additional resources from a new Crewing Optimisation Group, as well as specialists to deal with severe weather events

If a public consultation is agreed it is likely to run from 2 June until 22 August 2014, before the proposals are considered by West Sussex County Council in September.

WSFRS chief fire officer Sean Ruth said: ‘The number of emergency calls we receive has fallen, and the types of incident we respond to has changed. We need to adapt our service to reflect this.

‘We have done a huge amount to target prevention work to those most at risk. We want to continue to work even more closely with the communities we serve to reduce the likelihood of emergencies from occurring in the first place.’

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