Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has moved to reassure people in Corby that proposals relating to the town’s fire station will not impact on its day-to-day fire cover.
A campaign was launched earlier this month by the Fire Brigades Union after a plan was announced to scrap one of the town’s two fire engines.
A consultation is currently underway on the brigade’s draft Community Protection Plan, which sets out the future of the service in the coming years.
The plan includes a proposal to replace one of the two traditional fire appliances based at Corby station with a Cobra Intervention Vehicle.
Cobra features the latest technology to enable firefighters to tackle a blaze without having to enter the building or the area where the fire is located by using water to cut through brick walls, concrete or steel.
There are 48 firefighters employed in four watches at Corby’s Phoenix Parkway fire station.
Service bosses want to cut that number to 36 by removing the second pump and replacing it with a Ford Transit-style van equipped with Cobra. That van would be manned only by two people.
Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, says the plan will continue to deliver a robust level of fire cover in the town.
He said: “We are currently consulting on our draft Community Protection Plan, which includes a proposal to introduce a Cobra vehicle in Corby to enhance the flexibility of the response in the north of the county.
“I am concerned that there is a misconception that this plan will result in a reduction in the level of day-to-day fire cover people in Corby can expect, and this is not the case. It would maintain the ‘two appliance’ capability currently available in the town, while making use of this new technology to improve the way Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service can respond to some incidents.
“Not only is the Cobra technology more environmentally-friendly as it uses less water, it is also safer for our firefighters because it enables them to respond to some incidents without having to enter the building where the fire is burning.”
Speaking earlier this month, Fire Brigades Union vice-chairman Gary Mitchell said: “This is about cost-cutting. It’s not being done for the benefit of the community.
“It’s worrying to think that the safety of the public and firefighters are being put at risk. We have started a petition and gained 700 signatures in four hours which shows how much people care about this.”
The consultation continues until January 12 and full details can be found at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/consultations.
The FBU is uring people to fill in the survey about the plans, which can be found here.