ESSEX Fire Authority has today selected three options for change which will set out the future role and shape of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
These options will now form the backbone of a 12 week consultation, starting on February 1, as the Service gets ready to meet the changing demands it faces in the coming years which will involve a continued reduction in incidents, an increased focus on prevention and a commitment to become financially sustainable as reductions in funding continue every year until 2020.
Following the first stage of consultation last year, which established the principles for change, the Service has worked with external specialists to produce detailed models showing the effects any changes will have on the response to incidents.
This data has been used to create a series of options which will give the Service greater scope to carry out preventative work while ensuring that crews reach all life threatening calls in an average of 10 minutes and 90% of all incidents within 15 minutes.
Essex Fire Authority Chairman Cllr Anthony Hedley said: “The options we are consulting on will ensure that Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is ready for the significant challenges in the future.
“All three options create the right balance in how the Service will resource its prevention, protection and response responsibilities while remaining financially sustainable.
“This consultation gives everyone in the County a chance to have their say as we move to make the changes which will allow the Service to adapt to the future challenges it faces. Nothing has yet been decided so we will carefully examine the results of the consultation before coming to our final decision in June.”
Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley said: “We have already seen huge changes in the way we work in the last decade. The number of incidents we attend has halved and we, and other UK fire and rescue services, now face dramatic reductions in the way in which we’re funded.
“We have created these options to make sure that we can continue to save lives, prevent injury and reduce risk by having the right resources in the right place to keep Essex safe.
“These options will now form the backbone of the second part of the largest consultation we have ever undertaken as we ask the people of Essex to let us know which of the plans they prefer. It is worth pointing out that no decision has yet been made so it is vital that the public and partner organisations make their voice heard by taking part in the consultation.”
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