Sixteen Norfolk fire stations hit by staff shortages

North Earlham Fire Station in Ivy Road. Photo: Bill Smith

North Earlham Fire Station in Ivy Road. Photo: Bill Smith

Sixteen fire stations in Norfolk are suffering from staff shortages, fire chiefs have said, as they revealed recruiting retained firefighters is becoming more difficult.

Retained firefighters are paid, part-time personnel who crew 39 out of 41 fire stations in the county.

There are 492 retained fire fighters and 188 full-time firefighters in Norfolk.

But bosses at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said there is currently a shortfall of 27 retained firefighters, with staff shortages at 16 fire stations.

Fire engines have a minimum crew requirement, so if there is a shortfall, they cannot be sent out to emergencies.

You may also want to watch:

The fire service aims to have fire engines crewed by retained fire fighters available at least 90pc of the time, but between April and September this year it was 80.1pc.

The issue was discussed by county councillors at yesterday's meeting of the communities committee.

Most Read

Karen Palframan, from the fire and rescue service, said: 'I think it's a reality that we are struggling in Norfolk with keeping retained pumps on the run because of availability issues, which do stem, to some extent, around recruitment.

'It is becoming more difficult to recruit.

'Once we do recruit, it then takes a period of time to get them sufficiently skilled to keep them on the run.'

But she said the service was putting measures in place to ensure key stations do have cover.

As reported, the retained crew from Earlham Fire Station has, on occasions, been moved to other stations.

The western and Swaffham districts are also trialling a 'pay as you go' initiative, in which stations where more than five firefighters are available are paid to support other stations.

What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus