On Monday evening, I attended a public meeting that had been organised by the High Peak branch of Unite Community to hear from representatives of the Fire Brigade Union, there concerns over the proposals that the Derbyshire Fire Authority are currently consulting on.
The proposals that are out for public consultation from the Fire Authority, affect both Glossop and Matlock fire stations, and if supported and approved would see changes to the current staffing arrangements, along with the fire staff houses that help support this staffing been sold off.
The Fire Brigade Union advise that the 14 full-time staff live on site and by working two shifts were able to provide 24-hour cover, making it one of the most efficient in the county, this they said, compares well with the situation elsewhere where the staff do not live on site and where twice as many full-time staff are required to provide the same level of cover.
The cost-cutting suggestions would involve Glossop’s night-time and weekend cover been provided by retained fire crews, with all of the consultation options been put forward by the fire authority been for more retained firefighters.
Retained firefighters are people who have another job, but can specify they are ‘on call’ at certain times. It is difficult to recruit retained fire crews, partly because most employers cannot grant their staff ‘as and when’ release and partly because not everyone lives close enough to the fire station meaning that the adverts on Glossop Fire Station for retained firefighters have been there for a long time.
The fire service cannot guarantee that it will always have sufficient retained staff on call, especially at night and weekends, and it also takes longer for retained firefighters to reach the fire station leading to folk in attendance at the meeting saying that there was no confidence that the increased dependence on retained staff would provide adequate cover for Glossop. Those present at the meeting agreed unanimously by a show of hands that none of the three proposals were acceptable.”
There were also claims that the second fire engine, crewed by retained staff at Glossop, was only deployed on half the number of times it was called out during recent months because a full complement of retained fire crew could not be formed and that’s before any changes to the current arrangements increase the number of retained firefighters that would be required.
Now recently with the Shire Hill consultation, local’s experience or want to take part in consultations may have been dented – but the potential effect of these changes could not only have an impact in Glossop but across the whole of the High Peak, so residents whether Glossop based or nearby need to take part.
As noted by our MP, we must not let the authorities off the hook by not responding to the consultation – you must have your say.
To respond to the consultation, in theory, you should have had a leaflet through your door, but if not you can do so via the Derbyshire Fire Authority website by clicking here.
To respond follow the instructions in the leaflet from the fire brigade union below:
There is also a petition, that you can sign by clicking here.
The consultation closes on Friday 16th February 2018.