Lives ‘at risk’ by cuts to town’s firefighters

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to axe a Doncaster fire station crew will put lives at risk, claim union officials.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) say the plans to scrap the retained crew at Edlington Fire Station will have a knock on effect throughout the borough.

A report urges fire authority chiefs to give the go-ahead to original proposals which, it is claimed, will represent ‘better savings and the least impact on the community’.

Retained crews are part time firefighters who are called in only when they are needed.

Graham Wilkinson regional Fire Brigade Union official said the move would affect the whole of Doncaster putting lives at risk.

He added: “I’m extremely concerned about this as a Doncaster resident and as a firefighter.

“This move will leave just one appliance at Edlington which will mean they will have to rely on Doncaster station for back-up, which in turn leaves Doncaster open to danger with increased call outs and puts lives at risk.

“It will take crews longer to get to the Edlington area from Doncaster and will take away resources from Doncaster station leaving only one back up appliance.

“We’ve been told one of the problems has been that the public consultation meetings were not very well attended but a lot of people have said they weren’t advertised well enough and people didn’t know about them.”

Mr Wilkinson says the final decision is expected to announced at a meeting on March 26.

Another cut which could affect Doncaster is the scrapping of three roving pumps which provide backup at stations when firefighters are out training.

None of 16 alternative proposals put forward by residents in consultation meetings have been taken up. Brigade bosses say the ideas - which included raising council tax for every South Yorkshire household by £23 a year - would put lives at risk, and cost too much.

Fire chiefs need to save around £10 million before 2015 due to Government cuts. The FBU plans to lobby politicians.

Meanwhile Mansfield Road and Darnall stations in Sheffield, and a retained station in Mosborough, will be closed and replaced with two new bases.

The retained station at Royston will be shut.