July 30 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Felixstowe fire station will be staffed by retained firefighters only within the next two weeks.
The county council’s cabinet approved the change yesterday – it is the last phase in the changes to the station that started in 2011.
At that time the station was staffed by a crew of 12 full-time firefighters during the day seven days a week. The first stage of the change was to staff the station only five days a week with eight firefighters in August 2011.
After a year this decision was reviewed – and the decision was taken to convert the fire station to one staffed by a “nucleus” crew of just four full-time firefighters five days a week.
This meant that any call-out would have to rely on some of the 21 retained firefighters at Felixstowe being available to make up the crew.
By reducing the full-time element the council will save £160,000 a year – the crew currently based at Felixstowe will be transferred to other stations.
Presenting the report to Suffolk County Council’s cabinet yesterday, public protection spokesman Colin Spence said that between July 2012 and December 2013 the station had dealt with 338 calls. Of these 151 (45%) had been false alarms.
But only 129 (38%) had been at times when full-time firefighters had been on duty – an average of 1.68 calls a week. Of these 59 calls (46%) had been false alarms.
Graham Newman, who is Felixstowe Town Mayor as well as being a cabinet member, said he had abstained when the town council had discussed the issue and would be doing so again – but it was difficult to argue with the statistics.
However Ipswich Labour councillor Peter Gardiner was concerned that the change could make it take longer for appliances to reach incidents quickly.
He was particularly worried about the length of time it would take for appliances to reach Felixstowe from Ipswich along the A14.