Residents urged to have their say on fire service plan

9:00am Sunday 9th February 2014

PEOPLE across the borough are urged to have their say on how West Midlands Fire Service keeps them safe in future.

West Midlands Fire Service has launched a month of consultation on ‘The Plan 2014-17’- its framework for its prevention, protection and response activities – as West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority has announced a referendum on spending might be necessary if Government cuts continue to threaten the level of service currently provided.

Chief fire officer Phil Loach said: “We aim to reach our riskiest incidents in five minutes, and deal with them as assertively as possible. However, responding to incidents is only one of the many and varied ways we make the West Midlands safer.

“Every day, our firefighters and volunteers conduct vital prevention and protection work, supporting the West Midlands’ most vulnerable people and communities.

“‘The Plan’ guides every aspect of our work, by clearly setting out our strategic objectives, how we aim to deliver them and how we’ll measure our success. We want as many people as possible to get involved in the consultation, and to help shape their fire service.”

Councillor John Edwards, chairman of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Our consultation runs until the end of February, so there’s plenty of time for people to have their say before the final version is approved by the Fire Authority.

“We want to know what people think about the service we deliver and how we arrange ourselves to deliver the very best service we can.

“Financially, we’re in unprecedented times. The funding we get from the Government has already been cut by £21m, which is more than a quarter of our grant. We’ve worked hard to keep our community fire stations open, but this was only possible thanks to the extra £5 a year we raised through Council Tax.

“Further cuts in public sector budgets during the life of our plan, already outlined by Government, will have a severe impact on the fire and rescue service we currently provide. We’re already facing budget deficits of £3m and £6m in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

“The Fire Authority might choose to carry out a referendum of people in the West Midlands to allow them to have their say about the level of service they want."

People can find out more about ‘The Plan 2014-17’ and give feedback by visiting www.wmfs.net

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