Fire service’s future out for consultation

Fire & Rescue East Sussex SUS-150522-132343001

Fire & Rescue East Sussex SUS-150522-132343001

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The fire service wants to hear the public’s views about how it should operate in the future and plans for firefighters to help at medical emergencies.

East Sussex Fire Authority has launched a consultation on its future plans and wants to hear people’s opinions on what its priorities should be, whether council tax is giving value for money and more.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is also looking into a pilot in Immediate Emergency Care Response (IECR) as part of the ‘Your Service Your Voice’ consultation.

Fire authority chairman Phil Howson says: “Fire and rescue services are undergoing a great deal of change.

“We have lots of opportunities to work more closely with other organisations for the benefit of public safety.

“We need your views to help us make the right decisions about how we do this in the future.”

A survey is open to the public to inform our regular financial planning processes and to find out what the service should do to keep our staff and people safe.

The consultation asks about its priorities, including drowning prevention work and improving business safety and council tax as that is where most of its funding comes from.

Chief fire officer Gary Walsh added: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has already shown it can make a significant difference to the safety of the public.

“We not only respond effectively to emergencies but we are putting extra time and effort into preventing them happening in the first place.

“This has been a hugely successful approach for some years and I am proud to lead a Service which so effectively protects our community.

“We want us to keep up this momentum and therefore I would encourage you to help us decide how we can use our finances to maintain and improve on the current service, and where we focus our efforts next.”

The green light was given to begin the consultation process on the IECR pilot scheme at the fire authority meeting on September 8.

In pilots elsewhere in the country, fire crews are mobilised to certain medical emergencies at the same time as paramedics when fire crews are nearer to the patient.

The aim of providing IECR is to improve outcomes for patients and their chances of survival when suffering certain types of serious health problems, including heart attacks or breathing problems – called Red 1 calls.

Operational support and resilience assistant director Mark O’Brien said: “East Sussex Fire Authority has agreed to the pilot scheme to provide IECR in collaboration with SECAmb (South East Coast Ambulance Service), subject to public consultation.

“An ambulance crew will always be assigned to the incident but sometimes a trained fire responder may arrive a few vital minutes earlier to provide potentially life-saving treatment.

“If publicly approved, this pilot scheme would be funded for a two-year period and would commence in April 2017, with the first Service resources being mobilised around six months later.”

An online survey and related risk information can be found at www.esfrs.org/irmp and paper copies can be requested by writing to: East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, 20 Upperton Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1EU.

The survey will be open until November 7. The findings of the consultation will be considered at a fire authority meeting in December.

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