Oakham fire station to get £1m refurbishment

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THE fire station in Oakham will get a £1m revamp as part of plans to change the shift patterns of firefighters.

The policy committee of Leicestershire Fire Authority will meet on Wednesday to be updated on plans to introduce a system of staffing called day crewing plus.

In May the committee approved starting consultation on the proposals to introduce the system at stations with low activity levels, including Oakham fire station in South Street.

A report ahead of Wednesday’s meeting states: “The project to refurbish the existing station, including the necessary changes to accommodate the day crewing plus duty system, has been initiated.

“Still in the early planning stage, it is anticipated that the project will be delivered in the summer of 2012.”

Day crewing plus saves £400,000 a year at every station where it is initiated and one-pump stations cost £1.2m a year to run.

Because of the shift patterns, a “one-off capital investment” is required for improved living accommodation.

The system requires 50 per cent fewer staff to operate but still provides an immediate 24 hours a day, seven days a week response capability.

Staff would work shifts of 24 hours at a time with half the time at half and half on call.

The system is opposed by the Leicesetershire and Rutland branch of the Fire Brigades Union, which has said in the past it is concerned because half the staff are no longer required and for safety reasons.

But the policy committee said it had gone ahead with the plans because other stations had used it successfully and was “over-subscribed”.

No-one was available for comment from the union this week.