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Fire and rescue service plans to include public support

Published on 11 November 2010
The public is being asked on various fire related issues for improvement in fire safety services.
"Towards 2020" risk management plan has moved out for public consultation

The public is being asked for its views on key plans on various fire safety related issues and ways for their improvement.

Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority which oversees how KFRS is run agreed at a meeting that its Integrated Risk Management Plan, entitled "Towards 2020", will now go out for public consultation until 17 January. The outcomes will be reviewed by the Authority in February when a final decision will be made.

Based on highly detailed data analysis that identifies the number and nature of incidents occurring across the area, as well as predicting new risks, a number of far reaching proposals are being unveiled to further enhance fire and rescue services across the county. The public is being asked for its views on key plans including:

  • From 2012, KFRS will not automatically attend Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs). Fire engines will only be sent when a genuine incident is reported. AFAs have accounted for almost 30,000 calls over the past five years but only 0.3% have resulted in actual firefighting action.
  • The decommissioning of Chatham and Gillingham Fire Stations with both crews and one fire engine moving to Medway Fire Station which will improve the guaranteed availability of appliances from two to three.
  • The closure of Thanet Fire station with its crews and specialist appliances moving to other parts of the area which will improve the guaranteed availability of appliances from three to four.
  • A new station for Ramsgate and two new stations for the Medway towns. When these are built, the current sites at Medway and Ramsgate will be sold.
  • A review of Community Safety (CS) work which will in future target the most vulnerable members of the community and change the way firefighters and CS staff conduct this work.

The proposals were considered by KMFRA's Planning and Performance Committee before being given the go-ahead for public consultation.

Committee Chairman, Cllr Keith Ferrin said: "Kent Fire and Rescue Service works around the clock, 365 days a year dealing with fires, road traffic collisions and other emergencies, such as floods, explosions and chemical incidents. Though we are living through challenging times, I believe that the detailed planning KFRS has been doing over recent years puts it in a good place to continue to deliver the first class service our local communities deserve.

"People are often worried about changes to their local fire service, but the fact is KFRS never stands still and never have done. Its job is to respond to constantly changing risks and deliver the best service, at the best price, for local taxpayers.

"The county has changed beyond recognition since the 1950s when most of our stations were built. We must help the public understand that their safety does not depend on a fire station on every corner. To meet the needs of 2010 and beyond, we need to have the right number of stations, with the right equipment, in the right locations." 

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