Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Public in Hastings asked to consider key benefits before responding to public consultation


East Sussex Fire Authority is asking the public in Hastings to consider the key benefits it believes will be introduced if the proposed relocation of operational resources within the town and surrounding area is approved.

Public consultation on the proposals commenced on 14th September after East Sussex Fire Authority considered the findings of a comprehensive report regarding fire cover within Hastings Borough at its meeting on 13thSeptember. The review was commissioned by the Fire Authority as part of its Community Risk Management process and was contained within its Medium-Term Plan 2011/12 - 2015/16.

The Fire Authority agreed to consult on the proposals to:

  • Relocate the Wholetime fire appliance from The Ridge Fire Station to Bohemia Road Fire Station.
  • Maintain the Retained Duty System and fire appliance along with the off road vehicle   at The Ridge Fire Station.

The consultation will last for twelve weeks, with the results due to be considered at the Fire Authority’s meeting on 13th December 2012.

Gary Walsh, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“We fully appreciate and understand that residents in Hastings, especially those living near The Ridge Fire Station, will naturally be concerned about how the proposed changes may affect them. In case there’s any doubt or misunderstanding, it should be stressed that there are no plans to close The Ridge Fire Station and no fire appliances are being removed from the Hastings Borough area.

“The main purpose of the Hastings Review was to determine whether our methods of fire cover could be improved in order to provide the best response to the most vulnerable areas and people in the Hastings Borough.

“We want to ensure that the households defined as most at risk of fire can be responded to as quickly as possible. We believe the proposed changes will achieve this improvement and have always been open about the fact that, if they are approved, attendance times will increase for some of the outlying communities in Hastings Borough and the surrounding areas in Rother.

“However, we are confident they would still receive an operational response to these areas in line with our current Service standards and target response times. We believe that the benefits of the proposed changes far outweigh the negatives and will provide a more effective fire & rescue service to the most vulnerable areas of the community within Hastings itself.

“To provide an example, there are over four thousand vulnerable households that the current Bohemia Road appliance can reach within eight minutes that The Ridge appliances cannot. Conversely, there are only a small number of households defined as being vulnerable that an appliance from The Ridge Fire Station can reach within eight minutes that Bohemia Road could not. We believe relocating an appliance to Bohemia Road makes sense and that, ultimately, it will help save lives.

“Only 39% of incidents currently attended by this appliance are within its own station area, with 57% being in Bohemia Road’s station area. This clearly suggests that The Ridge Fire Station is not in the most appropriate location to cover the risk across Hastings.

“The full report and an Executive Summary can be found on our website – www.esfrs.org. The Executive Summary in particular contains a great deal of background information on the overall benefits of the proposed changes. We welcome feedback and comments, which is the purpose of the public consultation, and would urge people to read all of the information provided before they respond.”

The following statistics and information are extracted from the Hastings Review Executive Summary. For the full version please visit www.esfrs.org, where you can also fill out an online questionnaire.

In the Hastings area, Bohemia Road fire station area contains:

• 67% of all households
• 79% of all high risk households
• More highly deprived areas (IMD 2010)
• Many above average risk areas (FSEC)
• More high risk premises
• 72% of all incidents

The majority of significant incidents in the Hastings area over the last five years can be reached within 8 minutes from Bohemia Road Fire Station. Conversely, a large number of incidents in the Bohemia Road Fire Station area cannot be reached in 8 minutes by the whole-time pumping appliance from The Ridge Fire Station.

There are approximately 4,104 vulnerable households that Bohemia Road appliance (E08) can reach within 8 minutes that The Ridge appliances (E09, W09) cannot. Conversely, there are approximately only 33 vulnerable households that E09 can reach within 8 minutes that Bohemia Road cannot.

Service provision to vulnerable households can be improved if the wholetime pumping appliance at The Ridge is relocated to Bohemia Road. Currently, 18,802 vulnerable households in the Hastings area have an attendance of two pumping appliances within 8 minutes. If E09 is relocated to Bohemia Road, then an additional 4,104 vulnerable households will be covered by two pumping appliances from Bohemia Road within 8 minutes.

78% of incidents attended by E08 are within its own station area and 13% are within The Ridge’s station area which suggests that Bohemia Road Fire Station is in the right location to provide an effective response to the whole of Hastings.

39% of incidents attended by E09 are within its own station area with 57% being in Bohemia Road’s station area which suggests that The Ridge Fire Station is not in the most appropriate location to cover the risk across Hastings.

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