11 Oct 2018 Last updated at 19:00

Fire service review agreed

Firefighter shift patterns will change to increase coverage at the busiest times, under plans agreed tonight (Thursday).

The move, agreed by Cabinet members, will match resources with peak demand, as identified by research, and improve the efficiency of the service.

It will guarantee a minimum of 12 immediately available firefighters for 12 hours a day, every day.

In addition, the new shift system will reduce the times when only one fire engine is available and collectively improve response times by around three hours during the week and 12 hours at weekends.

There will be no redundancies from the adoption of the new system, which will mainly affect Newport – the Island’s only 24-hour fire station.

“This new shift system and levelling out of rostered staff makes absolute sense and will improve safety for Islanders,” said Councillor Tig Outlaw, Cabinet member in charge of the fire service.

“More firefighters will be on duty when research says there is most demand and it will have no negative impact on response times.

“It will also allow the service to reflect the modern role it now has. There are fewer fires and fire safety work is increasingly important, so this needs to be factored into how the service is run.”

Howard Watts, the Island’s most senior fire officer, added: “Our fire service needs to evolve and respond to the challenges it faces in the 21st century and this new system will very much help in that process and improve what we can do.

“Under the existing arrangements we sometimes have up to 20 firefighters on duty during the day at Newport and Ryde, which is far above the minimum standards, and levelling out rostering and changing the shifts will help us direct resources to where and when we need them.

“It is important that the appropriate number of firefighters are assigned to an engine and, at night, five firefighters will be used, but it must also be recognised that modern equipment and techniques allows four firefighters to do the job too and, importantly, this is common practice across the country.”

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The new model would match resources with peak demand, as identified by research, and improve the efficiency of the service
The new model would match resources with peak demand, as identified by research, and improve the efficiency of the service
Factfile
  • There will be no redundancies from the adoption of the new system.
 
Isle of Wight, UK