A multi-million-pound proposal to modernise fire service buildings in a bid to recruit more women is to be considered by Norfolk County Council.

The proposal will go before the county's cabinet next week and is part of ongoing infrastructure work to help improve the inclusivity of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) buildings and standardise the layouts of its buildings.

A cabinet report by the council has revealed that Norfolk has the lowest proportion of female firefighters in England and said "the provision of adequate facilities to support women into the profession is a key step in improving this situation".

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It added: "Because of their age, on-call fire stations were predominantly built to reflect a male workforce, with piecemeal adaptations being made to stations through the introduction of female facilities.

"This often meant that female facilities evolved in an ad hoc way, often opening directly on to muster bays.

"These are not fit for purpose and do not provide adequate provision for female staff."

Eastern Daily Press: Ceri Sumner, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire OfficerCeri Sumner, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer (Image: Norfolk County Council)

The cabinet has already approved a £1.2m investment in a new logistic hub in Wymondham as well as improvements to Sprowston and Thetford stations.

Cabinet has now been asked to approve a three-stage plan involving an allocation of £2m from the 2024-25 budget and a £2m bid expected for the following year.

The fire service has also asked the council to acknowledge a further £4.5m needed to complete further infrastructure work beyond 2026.

Ceri Sumner, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, said: “It is clear fire stations are important buildings in their local communities with pride and care taken in them by fire crews. 

“This programme shows how we’re considering emerging best practise on contaminants and recognising the value and requirements of female fire fighters and staff to our service.”