Fire review expected to propose significant changes

Changes could be on the way for Suffolk fire service.

Changes could be on the way for Suffolk fire service.

The results of a review into the future of Suffolk Fire Service is expected to become public later today (Monday).

It is expected to suggest that the number of fire appliances on the streets of Suffolk should be reduced – but there is not expected to be any proposal for widespread closures of rural fire stations.

The review has been taking place since the summer – and it has been looking at how the fire service should react to a significant change in its service demands over recent years.

Improved construction and public education has led to a dramatic fall in the number of call-outs to fires. These now represent well under half the total emergency call-outs.

The number of emergencies has fallen – although the number of calls taken by the control rooms has not come down as dramatically because with most people now having mobile phones, there can often be several unconnected calls about the same incident.

Most fire stations now deal with more calls to road accidents than to property blazes.

The future of the fire service is due to be discussed by next week's meeting of the county council's cabinet, and details of the review have to be published at least a week in advance of the meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10.

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Councillors in areas most affected by the changes have been briefed over the last few days but it is understood that the modernisation of many fire stations – including sharing premises with the police – is likely to ensure that most retained bases will remain.

No final decisions will be made in the near future – the review will propose a number of specific changes which will again be subject to reviews over the next few months before any final decisions are taken next year.