Skeg fire staffing levels up but engine to be mothballed

EMERGENCY responses are expected to improve through Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s proposed increase to the number of fire stations staffed full-time by specialist firefighters.

Under the proposed changes, Skegness Fire Station will be one of seven in the county to move to 24/7 staffing.

The changes are anticipated to provide faster response times with a greater number of fully-trained firefighters available to attend call-outs.

Area manager for prevention and protection Steve Moore said: “The proposed changes will provide a more resilient service that has a better capacity to respond to emergencies.

“It will enable us to respond quicker to incidents and ensure that we have all the right equipment and skills necessary to deal with the wide range of emergencies our crews face.”

Skegness Town Council was asked for its views on the proposed changes which councillors discussed at a Direction and Strategy committee meting last Wednesday.

Though supportive of full-time staffing, there was a less favourable response to another of the proposed changes to remove £500,000 of specialist fire-fighting equipment from Skegness.

Currently there are three hydraulic platforms stationed in Lincoln, Boston and Skegness for responses to high-rise emergencies throughout the county.

Despite there being six high-rise buildings in Skegness and a number of serious sea-front fires requiring the use of such equipment, Skegness is the only station scheduled to loose its hydraulic platform.

Coun Mark Anderson felt that the high number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the town and the occurrence of major fires in the past should prioritise Skegness above other areas.

“Our needs are higher here in Skegness,” he said.

Other councillors shared Coun Anderson’s preference for the equipment to be retained but accepted the fire service’s explanation that preventative work meant fire risk in the town’s high-rise buildings had been ‘significantly reduced’.

Given the limited use of hydraulic platforms and the breakdown of its previous deployment, the fire service believes it can still give adequate levels of cover with just two stations equipped with the machinery.

Chief fire officer Dave Ramscar said: “Our top priority is to keep people safe by providing a first-class fire and rescue service that responds quickly to emergencies.

“Our detailed work to assess the risks faced by people in Lincolnshire has proved to us that we can do our duty with two hydraulic platforms rather than three.

“Locating the remaining ones in Lincoln and Boston will ensure that we are still able to meet our existing response targets wherever there is a high-rise building in the county,” he added.

l What do you think of the plans? Is the mothballing of the aerial platform a good or bad idea? Are you happy with plans for 24/7 fire cover? Let us know by emailing andrew.hirst@jpress.co.uk or calling 01754 897 120.