Last chance for people to have their say on cuts to fire service

THE fire brigade is urging people to turn out for the last of its consultation events over cuts to the service after a “disappointing” turn-out so far.

Just 40 people have attended 10 sessions held in recent weeks to consider options which include reducing the number of firefighters turning out to emergency calls in Hull.

No members of the public attended a session in Grimsby on November 27, nor in Hull on November 28 and December 2.

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Plans to reduce the number of crew members on all fire engines in the city from five to four were dropped after running into opposition three years ago, but are among a range of options going out to consultation as part of plans to save £5.5m by 2016/2017.

The Fire Brigades Union maintain the changes will put crews in greater danger, saying there would be a “great moral pressure” for firefighters to go in and fight a blaze even if it meant breaking their own safety procedures.

The fire service has previously admitted there would be a “slight” increased risk, and there would be an impact on response times – but not taking it below the level set by the fire authority.

Across the area nearly 30 per cent of the time fire appliances are already arriving on scene with a crew of four.

The fire authority will meet next month to decide which options to select, including station mergers in Immingham and Grimsby and removing second fire engines.

A spokesman for Humberside Fire and Rescue said: “The more information councillors have got in front of them the better and public opinion is one of the things they have to consider. The options we are putting forward do have various impacts on communities and people need to take the opportunity to have their say.”

The final consultations take place on Wednesday, from 11am to 1pm, at Immingham Civic Centre and from 5pm to 7pm at the Freedom Centre, Preston Road, Hull.