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Fire Authority approves plans to invest in fire safety

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority has approved plans that will see a significant investment in fire safety over forthcoming years.

The Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) for 2020/21 was given the green light by councillors at a Full Authority Meeting at Fire Service Headquarters in Birkenshaw (December 13).

The IRMP looks at the levels of risk across West Yorkshire and puts forward suggestions to make the most of resources, and allocate them where they are needed.

The plans will see a significant investment in the Fire Protection Team, which works to inspect and ensure fire safety regulation in residential and commercial buildings is being adhered to. Over the next four years up to 20 new posts will be created and additional training will be offered to existing staff.

Following a 10 week period of consultation, which drew over 360 responses, plans have also been rubber stamped for a change in shift patterns at South Kirkby, Normanton and Castleford fire stations to adopt day crewing systems. This will increase the number of firefighters who work at each station from 12 to 13 and will align with the national day crewing system.

Meanwhile, the number of aerial appliances will reduce from five to four after a review found five aerial appliances is more than required for operational demand.

Finally, the Fire Authority approved the reduction of the resilience fleet from 11 to five which is more appropriate to the demand level for these types of fire engines, which provide extra cover during high periods of demand such as bonfire night.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Nick Smith said: “We are very pleased that these plans include a very substantial investment in fire safety by increasing the capacity of our Fire Protection Team which deals with the legalities of fire regulation in buildings.

“The plans are well researched and risk assessed so that we can continue to deliver the very best services to the people of West Yorkshire and meet the demands of our operational response.

“This plan will enable us to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Chair of the Fire Authority Councillor Darren O’Donovan said: “The Fire Authority is vigilant to ensure the service is operating in the most efficient and productive way for the people of West Yorkshire. We are pleased that these changes will mean an investment in fire safety which meets the risks faced.

“We are proud to provide a first class fire and rescue service for the region and we strive to ensure it remains so into the future.”