Wiltshire fire crews say they're facing the biggest changes to the brigade in 70 years. They're worried about the impact of £1.8 million of cuts in the county.
The Fire Brigades Union warns the cuts would mean a reduction in front line firefighters and appliances being spread more thinly across the county.
The key concerns are over:
- Cuts to 'on call' retained firefighters which could see the loss of one in three full time equivalent posts.
- Plans to cut 30 whole time firefighter posts, one in six frontline posts;
- Cutting the number of aerial appliances (for use in buildings over 3 floors where fire engine ladders can't reach) from two to one would mean longer journey times before the only appliance could reach an incident.
- Removal of four emergency tenders used at road traffic incidents and building collapses.
- Halving the rope and water rescue team from 10 firefighters to 5 firefighters. The rope rescue team is used at buildings with difficult access.
- The creation of '96-hour shifts' for fire fighters, when they will be based at their fire station and unable to leave, except for emergencies. They will be granted visiting rights for families.