Concerns that new firefighting shifts in Normanton could 'make people less safe'
Changes to firefighters’ shifts that have now been approved could increase the time it takes to get to an emergency and put people in danger, a union has claimed.
West Yorkshire Fire Authority has approved plans for Normanton, Castleford and South Kirkby fire stations that would mean the stations are not always staffed and firefighters could go home if they live in within five minutes.
But the Fire Brigades Union secretary for Yorkshire and the Humber, David Williams, said the extra time it would take to get to a call would mean fire would have more time to spread.
He said this would be even more of a problem in the South East of the Wakefield district where residential areas are more spread out.
He said: “I can guarantee it won’t work at South Kirkby Fire Station – the agreed time of five minutes to respond will be shattered.
“It could work at Castleford or Normanton but not at South Kirkby without making those people less safe.
“Of course the FBU will point out worst case scenarios but we’re not scaremongering. Fires develop very quickly.
“In a house fire even two or three minutes could mean the difference between life and death.”
West Yorkshire Fire and rescue service said its website was accessed 7,058 times during its shift plans consultation at the end of last year.
The service said that no ‘significant issues’ were raised in the course of its consultation and only minor changes were made to the plans.
A total of 14.72 per cent of people who responded were from South Kirkby, 6.94 per cent from Normanton, and 4.17 per cent from Castleford.