Rural areas to get extra cover to help cut wait time in emergencies from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

Cambridgesire assistant chief fire officer Rick Hylton and chairman of the fire authority Kevin Reyn

Cambridgesire assistant chief fire officer Rick Hylton and chairman of the fire authority Kevin Reynolds with the two additional fire engines. - Credit: Archant

Rural areas will be covered by two extra fire engines to cut the time it takes for a crew to reach emergencies during the day.

The move has been made amid a growing problem of recruiting on-call fire fighters who live and work locally.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service say it has “reallocated resources” to provide the extra cover in the day time in areas where on-call fire engines are not available.

Chris Strickland, chief fire officer, said: “?We have a greater demand on our services in daytime hours when we have the least fire engines available.

“We are a largely rural county and therefore only seven of our 27 operational fire stations have a full time crew in the day.

“Our other fire stations rely on local residents or people who work close-by to provide on-call cover.

“They have to drop everything and get to the fire station if there is a 999 call in their area.

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“We have found that our availability of fire engines at these stations has decreased over the last five years, despite ongoing recruitment drives and the effort existing on-call firefighters make to keep the fire engine available.”?

Recruiting and keeping on-call firefighters is an issue nationally, he added, as society changes mean that people no longer live and work in the same town or village, so it is difficult for people to provide enough cover to have fire engines available all the time.

Chris continued: “By working with the Fire Brigades Union and staff we agreed to introduce the two roaming pumps to improve attendance times and community safety activity in rural areas which we anticipate will add greater value in preventing fires and getting help to people quicker.”?

Kevin Reynolds, chairman of the Fire Authority, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve our service and this gets all the more challenging with a reduced budget year on year.

“This new initiative shows that by understanding the risk in our communities, analysing our performance and working with the unions and our staff, we can find ways to use the resources we have more effectively to keep our communities safe.?”

The roaming pumps will not work out of a fixed fire station, but instead be sent to different areas? on a daily basis depending on need.

They will help reduce wait times and be used for fire prevention activities.