Plan for change to firefighters’ working hours

Changes: Normanton Fire Station will be affected if the proposals go ahead.
Changes: Normanton Fire Station will be affected if the proposals go ahead.

Changes are planned to firefighters’ shift patterns at three stations in the district.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has opened a consultation into staff hours at South Kirkby, Normanton and Castleford fire stations.

The three stations currently run a “day crewed (close call)” system, which means hours are worked in the fire station and community, as well as standby hours that are provided from accommodation located close to the fire station.

Firefighters must remain within close call of the station and they have no freedom of movement in standby hours.

The service has announced it will review the system.

It said the changes will not reduce staffing numbers.

The proposed “day crew” system would provide an “immediate response” between 8am and 5pm.

The service said there would be and a maximum three and a half minute increase to response times between the standby hours of 5pm and 8pm. The report said the changes would have would have a “limited impact on the emergency response in some areas against our risk based planning assumptions”.

Increasing the capacity in the Fire Protection Team, which is responsible for making sure businesses and public venues are safe from fire, is another proposal in a shake up of local services.

But there are plans to reduce the number of the service’s “aerial appliances” – engines with large, cherry picker style attachments to deal with fire from above, from five to four. The cherry picker fire engine currently based at Halifax will not be replaced in 2023, but the one based in Wakefield will remain.

Assistant chief fire officer Nick Smith said: “We welcome any feedback that the public want to provide on these two proposals and look forward to hearing what they have to say.

“None of the ideas we’ve suggested will see any changes to the number of firefighters here at WYFRS, and will help to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

“There’s a variety of ways to get in touch with us so we hope the public will let us know their thoughts – and of course we’re happy to answer any concerns or questions they may have.”

Anyone who wants to comment on the proposals can visit www.westyorksfire.gov.uk by November 29.