The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Fire Service Consultation

Public consultation on the planned changes to manning will last until January 31. There is a public meeting at Abingdon Guildhall on January 15 at 7pm, where the management will present their proposed changes. The unions urge people to make their concerns known at the union website.

In an attempt to ensure better fire cover is provided in some rural areas of Oxfordshire, Fire Service bosses are proposing cuts to the number of full time firefighter jobs at Abingdon and Didcot fire stations. In addition, those that remain will see their working hours radically changed. The Fire Brigades Union, who were not consulted on the proposal, are deeply concerned about the impact these changes will have for the people who live in the Oxford, Abingdon and Didcot areas.

If accepted, the initiative will reduce the number of full time firefighters at Abingdon and Didcot fire stations from 14 to 12 on each station. Alarmingly, there will be periods of time when none of the 12 firefighters are on duty. Part time firefighters will fill the gaps when they are able to do so. Firefighters are worried that these changes will lead to an increase in the time it takes for the Fire Service to respond to emergency calls, with the possibility that it could lead to more fatalities.

Already in South Yorkshire similar changes have escalated into a dispute. Bosses have served notice to terminate the contracts of over 700 Firefighters unless they accept the changes being imposed upon them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These changes are ridiculous. Fire stations will be manned by less highly trained youngsters who don't even have the availability to cover all the time due to other jobs.
Support our full time firefighters and air your concerns over these changes

11 October 2009 22:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoke kills in 3 minutes doesn’t it? Abingdon and surrounding areas will have to wait for part time fire-fighters to get through ‘Abingdon traffic’, that’s half an hour gone before they even get out of the doors, absolute madness....and resulting in death before this is reversed I assume?

12 October 2009 14:00  
Anonymous This Charming Man said...

How do we make our voices heard against this proposal? Who to address the issue with, anyone know?

13 October 2009 12:43  
Blogger David said...

yes, it is all well and good saying the fire service need our support, but exactly HOW do we support them? Lobby our MP? Council?

13 October 2009 17:28  
Anonymous Dangerous Dave said...

I have a mate that works at the Witney fire brigade and he told me that the cover at Abingdon would be lowered to help out other part time fire stations Why does ours have to be lowered rather than bring the other stations upto Abingdons standard???

13 October 2009 17:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for the Fire and Rescue Services so a letter or e-mail to our local County Councillors would be a good start - their details can be found on the OCC website.

13 October 2009 22:27  
Blogger Backstreeter said...

I don't know very much more apart from what I reported having listened to the firemen. The County Council will be consulted and have a big say so do get on to them. You can also Contact the following Fire Brigades Union officials for advice how to help:
Alan Sillman - FBU Oxfordshire Brigade Secretary - 07917 065883
Steve Allen - FBU Oxfordshire Brigade Chair - 07917 065858

13 October 2009 23:57  
Blogger Thankful said...

Having recently been unfortunate enough to have a fire in my home, I was very pleased to see the fire engine arrive within minutes. If it is going to take longer to get a fire engine out in the future, I am extremely worried that others may lose thier home or even thier lives. Please dont let this happen!

14 October 2009 08:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday i was sat in the new Abingdon traffic scheme, it took me 33 mins to get from the Boundry House on the oxford r.d to the fire station on ock st, the future of Abingdon fire station relies on part time firefighters making this same journey.

14 October 2009 08:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It comes as no surprise to me to read that once again the Fire Services in this country have been targeted in a vain attempt to rectify mismanagement and spending in Local and National Government.
I am of the opinion that government (all 646 of them) adopt a cavalier attitude to life safety in their last ditch attempt to reduce expenditure and keep their noses above the waterline in the chaos and recession we now find ourselves in. I would not be surprised if they tried to “sell the Fire Service”.

I am further of the opinion that lobbying our local MP (who still has not answered my emails) or any other MP would be a total waste of time as they, like the management of the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service would only pay lip service to them.

Why is this? Again I believe that politically the support and the odds do not amount to enough votes to distract them from filling in their expenses forms. As far as your management within the Fire Service are concerned, they are no doubt trying to impress to enhance their personal promotion prospects.

I wish all of those members of the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and their colleagues up and down this country the very best of luck.

“Black Adder”!!

14 October 2009 09:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to set a few things straight as it seems this blogg has a little scare mongering going on, I am a aware of the so called part time fire-fighters from Abingdon, they are a committed group of guys from the local area and I have nothing but praise for them. They are well trained and just as committed to saving life and helping their community as there full time colleagues. As for being a load of untrained youngsters who can only do a few hours here and there am afraid that’s a load of Rubbish. They have many years service under there belts with some having done 20 years plus!!! And the traffic issue is far from accurate and the retained personnel normally get out the door within 4 mins.. People should try and be aware of all the facts and consider there may be more to this than has been reported above..

14 October 2009 19:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

take it you'd be one of those retained firefighters then after the whole times wages!!!

14 October 2009 19:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Just the sort of comment i would expect from someone who is ill informed. As for your comment no im not actually...! Guess you just want to get every one all worked up ahh????

14 October 2009 20:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The part time fire people normally get out of the door in 4 minutes????!!!! I very much doubt it!!! They've got to get out of their work or home when their beeper goes off, start their car, sit in the traffic, park their car in the station, get out of their work uniform and put their fire costume on, and then jump on the fire truck. If they can do this within 4 minutes i'd be very very very surprised.
At least the full time fire crew are on station all day and can simply jump on the fire truck and go!! And at night, they all stay in rooms behind the fire station, so can get the truck on the road very quickly.
Seems common sense to me, if you use part time instead of full time crews, it will take longer to get to fires and other calls.Cuts must not be allowed to happen in Abingdon and Didcot.

14 October 2009 23:08  
Anonymous The Daddy said...

This article, in no way whatsoever, questioned the ability or dedication of part time firefighters. Indeed, this county would not have been able to survive without them for many years now. The item is totally factual and serves to highlight the fact that people who live in Abingdon, Didcot or any of the surrounding villages are going to get a reduced level of fire cover and lives could be lost as a result. Please keep any comments similarly factual and lets all focus our efforts on maintaining an extremely important service for the local taxpayers. Let your local councillors know your feelings on this matter.

14 October 2009 23:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just look at yourselves! Squabbling among your selves about who are better than whom. You are forgetting the most important thing, the general public who depend on you acting as professionals 24/7. I do not give a “hoot” if you are full or part time you are still “professional fire-fighters” the government and your piers would love to see you tear yourselves up that would allow them to go in an pick up the pieces. What then? You would have to go back on their conditions “a penny a day and tip your forelock”, is this what you want?
Come on people stick together on this or divided you will fall.

Black Adder

15 October 2009 10:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just look at yourselves! Squabbling among your selves about who are better than whom. You are forgetting the most important thing, the general public who depend on you acting as professionals 24/7.2
So you assume every one on here is a firefighter then???
I think not!

15 October 2009 17:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any cut in fire cover is not acceptable.Full stop.End of story. I was chatting with one of the fire crew today, and as for replacing our highly trained,24 hour, full time crews with a part time crew that will take longer to attend incidents at night and weekends where the risk of fire deaths is at its greatest is ridiculous.
As a member of the tax paying public, i am disgusted that the safety of my family is being put at risk by these proposed cuts.

15 October 2009 22:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that anyone who lives in Abingdon and drives a car knows the truth about travel times. The only people that get across town in 4mins are the Army and they use helicopters. If I am going to wait longer for a fire truck will the council be prepared to wait for my council tax payment???

16 October 2009 10:37  
Anonymous This Charming Man said...

Ah, sorry, I'm not sure I read the headline properly. I'm just looking for someone to service my gas fire.

Anyway, if they can get to mine in 4 minutes there's a cup of tea and a Hob Nob in it...!

18 October 2009 12:47  
Anonymous Peachcroft Pat said...

I was unfortunate enough to require the services of our local Firefighters when I was involved in a very bad car accident in 2008. When you REALLY need them, EVERY MINUTE COUNTS, please believe me. Their professionalism was incredible and it's thanks to them (and the excellent care I received from staff at the JR Hospital) that I am here today. If there had been a delay in them getting to the scene of the accident, my horrible injuries could have been insignificant. I will support them fiercely and urge all members of the public to do the same. I strongly object to any councillor 'rubber stamping' this proposal without having consulted the people of Abingdon. It's us who should make these decisions, after all we are the people who pay our taxes to foot the bill for our Fire Service. Don't let it happen, please find out who your councillors are and tell them they MUST object to this on our behalf.

26 October 2009 18:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should not stand back and let other people try and fight this, we should ALL get involved.
The more people that lobby their local MP, and make their voices heard, the less likely it is that these drastic cuts will be implemented.
Any cuts in the Fire Service put lives at risk. Don't let your family's safety suffer.

27 October 2009 08:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More information at:

You must register your opposition in writing to the Service for it to be registered

2 January 2010 22:45  

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