Fire chiefs in u-turn over ap­pli­ance

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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