Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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Fire & Rescue Authority approves Chief Fire Officer’s bold plans to fight austerity

Fire & Rescue Authority approves Chief Fire Officer’s bold plans to fight austerity


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority has unanimously endorsed the innovative proposals put forward by Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan at the Authority’s meeting on 28th February 2019.

The plans represent a new optimism for the Service after a lengthy period of cuts resulting in the loss of fire stations, fire engines and firefighters.

Significant national and international incidents including terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower disaster have given the Chief Fire Officer cause to review the current Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2017-20 to ensure it equips the Service to meet future demands.

Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Garrigan’s plans present an opportunity for a more robust, resilient and effective Fire & Rescue Service.

The plans include:
• An increase of available fire appliances from 26 to 30
• An increase in the number of firefighters from 620 to 642
• An increase in the number of staff in Fire Safety Protection roles to help make commercial and public buildings safer
• Maintaining night-time cover at Liverpool City and Wallasey Fire Stations
• Enhancing the Service’s ability to respond to terrorist threats and environmental changes.

The changes will be funded by a reinvestment in the frontline of around £1m through the use of current reserves combined with robust debt repayment plans.

The end result will be a Service which is able to respond quickly and also increase its resilience when dealing with large and prolonged incidents. The increased investment will also ensure that the Service can protect business and public premises from fire, and prevention services will continue to be focused on the most vulnerable members of our community.

Fire Authority members who universally supported the new proposals described them as a breath of fresh air, after years of cuts.

The plans also confirm CFO Garrigan’s commitment to invest in the Service’s infrastructure and training facilities whilst maintaining Merseyside’s world renowned prevention services.

Cllr. Les Byrom, Chair of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority, said of the plans: “The Chief’s innovative plans make the utmost sense for the Fire & Rescue Service and communities across Merseyside. After years of relentless and damaging government cuts these plans present us with an opportunity to move forward into the future with renewed optimism – I applaud the Chief Fire Officer and thank the Leaders and MPs across the City Region for their unswerving support for the Service.

“The Authority will continue to work closely with the Chief Fire Officer and representative bodies to oppose any further government budget cuts.”

The Chief Fire Officer said of the outcome: “I have made no secret of my vision for our Fire and Rescue Service, particularly my aspiration to ensure it is equipped to meet the demands placed on a modern day fire and rescue service. This is a key step towards delivering against that ambition, delivering the very best Fire and Rescue Service in the country with the very best people at its centre. It is very reassuring to know that the Authority shares that vision. My proposals represent a defining moment for the Service and while they are challenging, they are achievable.

“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service deserves the investment and resources that reflect the commitment and professionalism of our operational and support staff. The approval of these plans would in my view ensure that the Service is better equipped to protect the public in the future.

“I would now like to invite the people of Merseyside to have their say on the proposals in our upcoming public consultation. We are listening – please make sure your views are heard.”

The new proposals represent a change from the plans contained within the current Integrated Risk Management Plan and as such, they will be subject to full consultation which will cover a 12-week period beginning 14th March.

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over or those referred by partner agencies.

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