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Consultation on future of fire service underway

A twelve week consultation on the future of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service is underway.

The authority is urging people to have their say on a five-year plan that focuses on four projects including response standards, response use of technology, prevention and protection.

A 12 week consultation is underway on the future of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service Credit: ITV Meridian

"Since Royal Berkshire Fire Authority reviewed and reset their policy direction in 2014, which resulted in six new strategic commitments, RBFRS has been planning how these commitments would be delivered using its available resources and against the backdrop of Government spending cuts.

"These four key projects are the result of that planning activity and we hope that as many people as possible will let us have their views on them. This is just the first step, as we will be developing annual Action Plans, which will contain detailed information about what will be achieved in each of the four years between now and 2019, and an Annual Report will detail the progress made in that year.

"However, we are very keen to hear what you think about these key projects, for example, your views on how we manage risk, or if there are any other areas you think we should include in our projects.

"All the feedback we receive as part of the consultation process will be considered, so this really is your opportunity to help shape the future of your fire and rescue service."

– Area Manager Simon Jefferies

Polo pony rescued from swimming pool

The pony was rescued by crews from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Credit: RBFRS

A Polo pony has been rescued from a swimming pool in the garden of a house in Berkshire.

A crew from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the house in Forest Road in Winkfield Row near Bracknell just after 5am this morning.

The crews had to wait for a vet to arrive to administer sedatives but as soon as this was done, the pony was safely removed from the pool and was back on dry land by 8am.


River rescue - firefighters in training to prevent drownings this summer

Firefighters went down by the riverside today in a dramatic live exercise to prevent drownings this summer.

The training at Reading Bridge marks the beginning of the first National Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week.

Nineteen people have drowned in rivers in Berkshire since 2009.

And the RNLI is warning that while it might be hot outside, the water's cold and shock can kill. Mel Bloor watched the exercise.

Strike dates announced.

FBU announce eight strike dates Credit: ITV

The Fire Brigades Union has announced eight days of strike action this month. They are involved in a national dispute over changes to firefighters' pensions.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service say they've put contingency plans in place to provide a level of cover during the strike periods.

The dates are:
Saturday 9 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Sunday 10 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Monday 11 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Tuesday 12 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Wednesday 13 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Thursday 14 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Friday 15 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm Saturday 16 August - from 12noon to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59 pm

Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Mancey said: “We will be putting contingency arrangements in place again and we will still be answering and responding to emergency calls. However, because we will have fewer resources than usual, we will be giving priority to incidents where people’s lives are at risk, such as house fires and serious road traffic collisions.


Fire service reports strike emergency callout figures

The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) has reported receiving 26 calls during a 24-hour strike which ended at 9am this morning. Ten of the incidents required crews to attend. Twelve fire appliances were available during the strike.

“Our contingency arrangements worked well and members of the public have once again helped us by calling 999 only when necessary.”

– Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Mancey, RBFRS

Crew member treated at the scene

Credit: ITV Meridian

A firefighter was injured when attending a house fire in Woodlands Park, Maidenhead, this morning. He was treated by paramedics at the scene for minor burns before he was sent to hospital for a precautionary check-up.

Shortly before 3.30am, a resident reported flames coming from the house next door. Four fire appliances attended, with an aerial ladder platform from Reading and the multi-role command and control vehicle from Dee Road, Reading. Firefighters carried out a search of the property.

The house was under renovation and no-one was inside. The fire caused severe damage to the house, with 100 per cent of the first floor and 80 per cent of the roof destroyed and a partial roof collapse. The fire is believed to have started in a bedroom and a fire investigation will be carried out.

Berkshire Chief Fire officer retires

Iain Cox is retiring from Royal Berkshire Fire Service Credit: Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Berkshire's Chief Fire Officer has retired after 34 years working for the Fire Service.

After joining Berkshire Fire Service, Iain Cox was appointed Chief Fire Officer in 2003 and was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal in 2009 for outstanding service.

The Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley, said: "Iain has set the bar at an extremely high level. His outstanding dedication, knowledge and leadership have seen RBFRS through some of the most challenging years in its history."

Acting Chief Officer Olaf Baars said: "Iain has been a steady hand on the helm for a decade and understood RBFRS as do few others. He has made an enormous contribution to public safety in Berkshire and we wish him and his wife Jane an enjoyable time together in retirement."

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is currently recruiting a new Chief Fire Officer and will announce the new appointment shortly.

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