THE consultation on plans to renew and enhance Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) cover across the city-region has been extended in response to feedback from residents.
The consultation on the proposals, which include an increase in the number of fire engines serving the city-region and two new ‘enhanced rescue stations’, will now remain open past its original end date of Monday 10 July and will close at 11:59pm on Monday 24 July.
Since the consultation opened on 5 June, GMFRS has been engaging with residents through a series of in-person and virtual drop-in sessions, including at Offerton and Sale Community Fire Stations, to give people an opportunity to learn more about the plans and speak to GMFRS staff about what they will mean for the local area and Greater Manchester as a whole.
During this time, residents have expressed a desire for further opportunities to consider the proposals and contribute to GMFRS’s decisions. The extension announced today will be accompanied by ongoing engagement across Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on the areas included in the proposals and surrounding neighbourhoods.
The package of measures, which are based on extensive data gathering and modelling of the changing profile of risk and safety in Greater Manchester, would also see changes to some special appliances.
GMFRS’s Chief Fire Officer, Dave Russel, said:
“We know that questions around fire cover and the service we provide are of fundamental importance for communities right across Greater Manchester. That’s why we want to make sure that people have the chance to engage meaningfully with our consultation and have their say on our proposals.
“Over the past year, we’ve conducted a thorough review of our fire cover, based on extensive analysis of evolving risks and the professional insight of our teams working here. The result is a package of measures that we believe will allow us to increase the number of fire engines in service and operate in the most effective and efficient way to keep residents, businesses and our firefighters safe.
“In the first few weeks of the consultation, we’ve been taking these proposals out to residents and listening to what they’ve got to say. The clear message has been that people are engaged and want as much time as possible to be able to contribute to the decisions that will be made.
“That’s why we’re extending the consultation and widening our ongoing engagement work with residents and partner networks, with a focus on the areas involved in the proposals and surrounding neighbourhoods. This will enable even more people to get involved in the public consultation and help shape our plans for the future of GMFRS.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Kate Green, said:
“The proposals set out in the Fire Cover Review represent a serious, comprehensive plan to ensure that GMFRS can adapt to match the changing landscape of our city-region, and put the right resources in place to protect communities throughout Greater Manchester.
“Since the consultation opened, we’ve been reviewing the feedback from the public sessions we’ve run and feedback received via our online survey, and we’ve already seen strong engagement from residents and stakeholders. This extension is a response to that feedback and will give us time to gather even more responses. I would strongly encourage everyone to consider the plans carefully and let us know what you think.”
The four key proposals within the consultation are:
- Introducing two additional ‘day crewing’ fire stations at Offerton and Sale
- Introducing two new ‘Enhanced Rescue Stations’ at Ashton and Leigh
- Increasing our frontline operational fleet from 50 to 52 fire engines, with the additional two engines placed at Manchester Central and Moss Side
- Enhancing our special appliances including our water search and rescue capability
At ‘day crewed’ fire stations, firefighters are on-call during evening hours from 6pm to 8.30am and are called to incidents via a mobile phone. There are currently six ‘day crewed’ stations across Greater Manchester in areas of lower risk and lower demand, especially during the night-time.
The Offerton and Sale areas have seen a downward trend in incidents in recent years and are classed as lower risk, with some of the lowest numbers of night-time incidents in the whole city-region.
The changes in these areas will not mean any change to emergency cover during the daytime, and will not affect plans to build a new state-of-the-art fire station in Stockport (opens in a new tab).
The reviews also recommend a more flexible and resilient approach for GMFRS’s technical rescue capability, with teams operating from ‘Enhanced Rescue Stations’ at Ashton and Leigh. The new approach would combine the role of a frontline firefighter with that of an enhanced rescue technician, meaning crews would be able to respond to every type of incident, including more complex scenarios, providing greater resilience.
These changes would enable GMFRS to introduce two new fire engines based at Manchester Central and Moss Side Community Fire Stations, reflecting the changing profile of Manchester’s rapidly transforming and growing city centre, and taking the service’s total operational fleet from 50 to 52.
To read the consultation document and for any further information about how the proposals were reached, visit the Fire Cover Review pages on our website (opens in a new tab).
To have your say on the proposal, visit www.gmconsult.org (opens in a new tab).
Article Published: 26/06/2023 12:09 PM