Fire chief proposes overhaul to improve Bracknell and Ascot service
Published: 2 Sep 2013 12:00
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is undergoing a review of its service and will recommend scrapping retained crews at Bracknell and Ascot fire stations and bringing in a full-time crew and pump from Slough as a replacement.
Acting chief fire officer Andy Mancey said: "We struggle to crew at many of our retained stations. It's the social changes that are happening, people don't want to be on call and within three minutes of a fire station at all times.
"We have a 100% rate of not manning the Ascot engine at night and that is not good enough. Bracknell has barely been used since November."
At present, Bracknell has one whole-time pump and one retained while Ascot has a whole-time day crew and retained night crew. However, there are only currently two retained firefighters at Ascot - a minimum of four are needed to man an engine -and Mr Mancey does not believe the retained system at Bracknell is working.
He added: "We do not need Bracknell retained. Wokingham can often get to a fire before Bracknell retained can. Even if we got a rush of people signing up as retained at Ascot, we would still be seven years away before they can go on the run."
The Slough pump would use Bracknell for crew changeovers and refuelling, but be based at Ascot during shifts. A similar system is coming into place at the Windsor station from October with changeover and refuelling taking place at Slough.
The proposal is still in the development stage and a report is due to go to the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (RBFRA) before a 12-week public consultation is started.
Mr Mancey added: "This is ongoing. The authority will need to agree to it and if they are happy with it, it will go to public consultation later in the year."
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