Campaign launched to save Kendal's second fire engine

A CAMPAIGN opposing plans to strip Kendal of one of its two fire engines has been launched.

Under cost-cutting proposals by Cumbria County Council (CCC), Kendal would be one of five towns in the county to have its fire appliances halved – a move which campaigners call ‘a life-threatening mistake’.

A Facebook page called ‘Save Kendal’s Fire Appliance from the Cuts’ has notched up more than 700 likes, while concerned firefighters have called for ‘decisions that save lives not money’.

A statement on the campaign page said: “Fires don’t happen every day but when they do, they don’t wait for the firefighters to arrive before becoming vicious and out-of-control.

“Having to wait for the second appliance to come from further afield could cost lives.”

As well as halving the appliances for Kendal, Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport and Penrith, the proposals, which are designed to save £540,000 a year, would see Dalton losing its fire station altogether and one of Barrow’s two engines being moved to Ulverston.

Kendal currently has two fire engines, one of which is manned from 8am to 8pm by four full-time firefighters and by retained firefighters from 8pm to 8am.

The second appliance is manned 24/7 by a retained crew – trained firefighters who only attend the station in an emergency callout.

Campaign organisers say that, with over 28,000 people living in Kendal and more new homes on the way, losing the second engine would compromise the safety of both the public and the firefighters manning the first fire engine. Brigade chair of the Fire Brigades Union in Cumbria Dave Burn also expressed concerns that the loss of appliances would have a knock-on effect on jobs for retained firefighters.

“There’s nothing in the proposals to suggest jobs are at risk but we’re worried that that could be a part of the cuts that is hidden,” he said.

One firefighter, who did not wish to be named, said leaving just one engine in towns affected by the proposals would ‘leave a crew of four to cover a huge area’ and estimated it would increase turnout times from five to 20 minutes.

“Around 90 per cent of fires are accidental and it’s the ones in the middle of the night I’m worried about – you don’t get many but one fire death is a fire death too many as far as I’m concerned.”

The county council said that the risk of fires had decreased significantly across Cumbria over five years as resources have been targeted at prevention.

A Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said there would be ‘support’ from stations at Staveley, Milnthorpe and Windermere – which ‘have very good availability and have an average response time into the Kendal area of 15 minutes’.

Campaigners are urging people to voice their concerns online at www.cumbria.gov.uk/ budgetconsultation/shareyour views.asp.

Comments (6)

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3:18pm Wed 1 Jan 14

Retained Firefighter says...

The financial savings will be made by Retained Firefighter redundancies. At Kendal between 10 and 13 loyal staff will lose their jobs.
The financial savings will be made by Retained Firefighter redundancies. At Kendal between 10 and 13 loyal staff will lose their jobs. Retained Firefighter

4:01pm Wed 1 Jan 14

davidearnshaw says...

To read this news brings me total disbelief that "Wise Men / Women" on Cumbria County Council can even think of reducing Kendal's FireEngines to just one !!!! ----- wake up management !!! --- whatever Statistics might indicate --- please just remember that this service is in more ways than one a LIFESAVING SERVICE ---- Fires, Road Traffic Incidents, many incidents involving trauma to humans, -- all of which can require very speedy intervention to save life -- minutes count for lifesaving during evolving emergency incidents ----- its all very well suggesting that peripheral crews can "fill in" --- but they may face difficulties getting from A --- B possibly due to adverse weather or traffic congestion etc; accepted finances are being squeezed ---- but Emergency Services must not be interfered with, to what will be if this happens, a detriment to their present level of efficiency / reactiveness. To All concerned on CCC I say----- just think again !!!!.
To read this news brings me total disbelief that "Wise Men / Women" on Cumbria County Council can even think of reducing Kendal's FireEngines to just one !!!! ----- wake up management !!! --- whatever Statistics might indicate --- please just remember that this service is in more ways than one a LIFESAVING SERVICE ---- Fires, Road Traffic Incidents, many incidents involving trauma to humans, -- all of which can require very speedy intervention to save life -- minutes count for lifesaving during evolving emergency incidents ----- its all very well suggesting that peripheral crews can "fill in" --- but they may face difficulties getting from A --- B possibly due to adverse weather or traffic congestion etc; accepted finances are being squeezed ---- but Emergency Services must not be interfered with, to what will be if this happens, a detriment to their present level of efficiency / reactiveness. To All concerned on CCC I say----- just think again !!!!. davidearnshaw

2:17pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Spotty Fish says...

Sometimes things just can't be about money, and this is the perfect example. Does this decision make sense to anyone but the bean counters?
Sometimes things just can't be about money, and this is the perfect example. Does this decision make sense to anyone but the bean counters? Spotty Fish

1:39pm Sun 5 Jan 14

laker1 says...

Remember this in May when the local elections come up - Many of the same councillors who will be up for re-election to the SLDC are also County Councillors for Kendal, Liberals who are in coalition with Labour and are behind these decisions
Remember this in May when the local elections come up - Many of the same councillors who will be up for re-election to the SLDC are also County Councillors for Kendal, Liberals who are in coalition with Labour and are behind these decisions laker1

9:41am Mon 6 Jan 14

fellsman says...

Where is Tim Farron on this - surely he can influence his Liberal colleagues to change their decision
Where is Tim Farron on this - surely he can influence his Liberal colleagues to change their decision fellsman

4:54pm Sun 12 Jan 14

Grumpyoldbiker says...

Not only do we have the M6, the main road artery between England and Scotland, but also the West Coast Main Line. Pleased the County Council have looked into their crystal ball and can see no incidents which will require assistance from Kendal when the remaining engine is out on another shout. If it was not so serious perhaps Kendal should ask to be twinned with Trumpton. They only had one engine.
Not only do we have the M6, the main road artery between England and Scotland, but also the West Coast Main Line. Pleased the County Council have looked into their crystal ball and can see no incidents which will require assistance from Kendal when the remaining engine is out on another shout. If it was not so serious perhaps Kendal should ask to be twinned with Trumpton. They only had one engine. Grumpyoldbiker

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