Date Published : December 31st, 2015 Published By : admin
Following a risk assessment of all 67 fire stations in Northern Ireland over a five year period, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) is to begin a Section 75 public consultation on how best to manage fire-fighter resources given the changing risk profile of Northern Ireland.
The assessment has identified that risk levels and resources in 11 stations were not effectively matched. Under the proposed new changes, four fire station areas have been identified by the NFRS which would benefit from additional whole-time fire-fighters whilst at the same time maintaining the Retained 24/7 cover. The four stations are at Enniskillen, Downpatrick, Dungannon and Strabane. Wholetime firefighters would provide enhanced prevention, protection and emergency response from on a daily weekday basis, from 8am to 6pm.
Fire stations at Coleraine, Carrickfergus, Antrim, Portadown, Armagh, Newtownards and Omagh currently have Wholetime firefighters based in the station 7 days a week from 7.30am to 7.30pm in addition to retained firefighters providing cover 24 hours a day. Under the new proposal these seven other stations would maintain the Retained cover 24/7 whilst Wholetime firefighters would be based on station duty from Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm.
Northern Ireland’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gary Thompson says the availability or number of fire appliances will not be impacted by these proposed changes. “We have clearly identified a change in the risk profile of Northern Ireland and we need to adapt and remain flexible to the changing needs we face. If we were to introduce these new proposals we could redeploy up to 28 Wholetime posts to the identified stations to maximise the use of existing resources. We have a duty to ensure that we provide the best possible fire and rescue service to the people of Northern Ireland” he said.
The NIFRS is confident that this proposal would enable them to make the most effective and efficient use of our operational resources aligned to the risk profile of Northern Ireland. ACFO Thompson concluded “These proposed changes are subject to Section 75 consultation and review. If accepted they will be introduced through a phased rollout over a 1-2 year period.”
Consultation will run for a 12 week period concluding on Monday 7th March 2016.
In October last, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service’s flagship Community Fire Station at Omagh scooped a top Construction Excellence Award. The new state of the art Fire Station and District Headquarters at Killybrack Road, Omagh won the award in the Social / Community Construction Category in the recent Construction Employers Federation Awards. The Awards recognise and celebrate the best construction and civil engineering projects delivered by Northern Ireland companies over the past year.