Yeovil to lose firefighters under proposals to find £5.5m of budget cuts
Yeovil Fire Station will lose four crew members if proposals to address a £5.5m Government funding cut are approved.
Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service will have its Government grant reduced by more than 10 per cent in 2013, with a further reduction of 7.3 per cent in 2014.
This means the service will lose £3.4m in the next financial year and a further £2.1m the following year.
The service has announced a number of proposals to help it find savings of £5.5m. These include reducing the number of staff it employs and changing how some stations operate.
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Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: "The grant reductions for our service were harsher than we would have liked.
"This means that we will need to manage our service with approximately £5.5m less each year and won't be able to operate in the way in which we currently do.
"However, at this stage, we do not plan on closing fire stations, removing fire engines or making staff compulsorily redundant."
Under the proposals, four firefighters at Yeovil Fire Station would be re-deployed elsewhere. Yeovil is the only town in Devon and Somerset to have eight members per watch, a spokesman for the service said. All other watches have seven.
He said the four additional members were assigned to be solely responsible for prevention work in the community. If the proposals are approved all crew members will have to do this.
Mr Howell added: "The changes we propose aim to strike the balance between making savings and maintaining public safety.
"These are difficult times and difficult choices are needed. The status quo is simply not an option given the need to significantly reduce the budget."
The proposals will be discussed by the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority on Friday, January 18. If agreed, they will be subject to a 12-week public consultation.
Other suggestions to help make savings include changing the status of some fire engines from wholetime to retained crewing, introducing more light rescue pumps and increasing prevention work in the community.