Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
800-strong petition opposes regional fire control centre
2:40pm Friday 27th April 2012 in News
CUTS could cost lives according to the Fire Brigade Union after it collected more than 800 signatures in the town centre opposing plans for a regional fire control centre.
The proposals include centres in Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester closing and union chiefs say only 51 of the 140 operators employed by fire authorities will move to a new regional building in Great Sankey.
Cheshire Fire Brigade Union secretary Dave Williams has said cuts to staff covering a vast area will mean a reduced level of efficiency and effectiveness.
He said: “There was a call just last week when the operator was on the line for 18 minutes, talking the caller through what he should do before crews arrived.
“We don’t think calls will be handled as quickly and efficiently and it doesn’t matter how good the system is in the new building if there are not enough people to deal with those emergency calls.”
The plans had been scrapped last year at a cost of £497 million but a U-turn saw authorities joining forces after the Government offered to subsidise the building.
A decision on the plans is expected at the end of the year after a final business case is produced in September.
Mr Williams added: “Our fear is Cheshire Fire will be committed at that stage as it has already received interim funding from the Government.
“Merseyside Fire Authority thought the savings were not worth the risk and pulled out and we should have done the same.”
Paul Hancock, chief fire officer, said public safety will not be compromised and the move would not impact 999 response times.
He said: “Cheshire Fire Authority would only pursue the relocation of its control room if it delivered a more effective, efficient and resilient arrangement than current systems.
He added the move is expected to save £430,000 in 2014-15 and £360,000 the following year.