PLANS to introduce a new shift pattern at Oakham fire station which would result in fewer firefighters have taken a step forward.
The policy committee of Leicestershire Fire Authority approved proposals to introduce a new system called day crewing plus, at a meeting on Wednesday, subject to further consultation.
The system would be implemented at stations which are full-time but have low activity levels. This is likely to include Oakham fire station in South Street.
Kenneth Bool, who is appointed to represent Rutland County Council on the authority, said: “What’s happened is that the authority members have approved the officers to take the matter forward.
“It is certainly not something that is going to happen immediately and would have to be agreed by the employees.”
The day crewing plus system provides an immediate 24 hours a day, seven days a week response capability but requires 50 per cent fewer staff to operate.
Staff would work shifts of 24 hours at a time with half the time at work and half on call. Five people per fire engine would be maintained at all times.
The system saves £400,000 a year at every station where it is implemented. Coun Bool said it costs £1.2m a year to run a one-pump station.
Coun Bool said: “No stations were named at the meeting but Oakham isn’t the busiest of stations.
“It is going to take a couple of months for a report to be put together to look at what stations it could be implemented at and whether there’s interest.
“It has found favour at other stations where it is used and is over-subscribed.”
Tom Neal, a spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union who is based at Oakham station, spoke out against the scheme at the meeting.
He told the Mercury last week the union was opposed to the scheme because the long hours meant it wasn’t conducive to family life or safety. He was unavailable for comment this week.