Posted: Sat 19th Aug 2023

Jack Sargeant MS urges rethink on Deeside fire service cover proposals

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Aug 19th, 2023

The North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority has sparked controversy by launching a public consultation on the future of emergency cover across the region.

One key proposal under consideration could drastically alter the staffing setup at Deeside Fire Station, switching from full-time firefighters to on-call coverage during night-time hours.

Jack Sargeant, the Member of Senedd for Alyn and Deeside, has raised serious concerns about the proposed changes.

In a letter addressed to the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, he wrote: “I have reviewed the three options being consulted on and am deeply concerned about their potential impact on the Deeside site and the wider community. Such changes may even endanger lives.”

Currently, Retained Duty System (RDS) firefighters, who often have other full-time employment, are on-call to address emergencies. Equipped with radio pagers, they rush to the fire station when summoned. Due to strict response time mandates, they must reside or work near their designated station.

The proposed changes include transforming rural stations such as Corwen, Dolgellau, and Porthmadog into daytime staffed stations. This move would lead to the reassignment of 28 full-time firefighter roles from Deeside and Rhyl, potentially resulting in job cuts.

Upon addressing the Fire Authority, Sargeant added: “I’ve met with the North Wales Fire Brigade Union and discussed two alternative options they’re suggesting. I urge the Fire and Rescue Service to collaborate with the Union and consider these alternative solutions, possibly involving further investments in the service.”

He also encouraged locals to actively participate in the consultation, emphasising the importance of the community’s voice: “I want to see Deeside Fire Station remain open and fully support the Union’s proposal for increased investment. Residents should participate and ensure their concerns are heard.”

The three main options being discussed are:

  1. Option 1: Relocate 12 rural and 28 full-time firefighter posts from Rhyl and Deeside to the new day-staffed stations.
  2. Option 2: Introduce three new day staffed stations, with potential savings of £1.1 million towards the 2024/25 budget, estimated at £6 million. This would result in a reduction of 22 full-time firefighter roles.
  3. Option 3: Aligns with Option 2 but with only two day staffed stations, leading to the closure of 5 RDS fire stations and saving £2.4 million.

The consultation can be found here: https://www.northwalesfire.gov.wales/about-us/emergency-cover-review-have-your-say/what-options-are-we-consulting-on-what-do-they-mean-for-our-communities-and-staff/

A petition has been started locally calling for politicians to step in and “save Deeside firefighters” it can be found here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-deeside-firefighters?share=a84acb51-a57e-492c-a9f3-5fdbfea1818f&source=email-share-button&utm_medium=socialshare&utm_source=email 

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