Fire chiefs in u-turn over appliance
FIRE chiefs have made a u-turn over plans to scrap its aerial appliance based at Macclesfield fire station as part of its budget proposals.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was hoping to instead rely on the two stationed at Lymm and Chester - and those in other counties.
But the scheme was slammed by Macclesfield’s MP David Rutley and the Cheshire branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) amid fears it would reduce the speed in which firefighters reach large fires quickly.
The aerial platform, which allows firefighters to get above fires to bring it under control, was used extensively during the Bosley disaster in 2015.
Now the Fire Authority, which runs the service, has agreed to shelve the proposals for now - but have pledged to revisit them next year.
However, the service is still ploughing ahead with plans to review staffing at Macclesfield fire station.
Cheshire FBU claim the plan will involve reducing the number of full-time firefighters from 14 to 12 and has warned any decrease ‘will cost lives’.
But fire chiefs, which is aiming to axe £4m from its budget over the next three years, refuse to confirm if there will be staffing cuts.
Other proposals in the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) include: a new operational training centre at the Winsford headquarters: expanding its Cardiac Response pilot which sees firefighters deployed as well as paramedics to calls where a patient is not breathing and their heart has stopped beating; and a campaign to ensure that sprinkler systems in schools remains in place.
The authority also agreed to increase its share of council tax by 1.99 per cent, which means that the annual charge for a Band D home will be £73.29.
Bob Rudd, chairman of Cheshire Fire Authority, said: “We’re grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation we have considered all of the feedback received and are now preparing to implement our updated IRMP from April 1.
“Like many other public services, we are facing some challenging times ahead but we believe our plan maintains a strong focus on both the safety of our communities and our firefighters.”