Frequently asked questions
What is the current model in Warwickshire?
Warwickshire Fire & Rescue (WFRS) has 17 stations across the county. The service is administered by Warwickshire County Council (WCC). Nine of the stations have only on-call pumps (Bidford, Henley-in-Arden, Wellesbourne, Fenny Compton, Shipston-on-Stour, Southam, Kenilworth, Bedworth and Polesworth), five have at least one wholetime day-time crewed pump (Alcester, Gaydon, Rugby, Leamington and Nuneaton), with the remaining three having a mix of wholetime and on-call pumps (Stratford, Coleshill and Atherstone).
Why does the current model need to change?
There are a number of key reasons for the need for change, including:
- The resource WFRS has available doesn’t match with activity levels. There are more fire appliances and resources available at night when activity levels are lowest, and fewer fire appliances and resources available in the day when activity levels are the highest (78% of all incidents occur between 8am and 10pm).
- Despite the commitment and hard work of on-call firefighters who serve their communities whilst also having other full-time jobs, the on-call availability has fallen from 90% to 35% since 2019 and the 12 fire appliances which are crewed by on-call firefighters are, on average, only available one-third of the time. This is a similar picture nationwide and we expect this trend to continue in the long-term, making the model unsustainable.
- Attendance time targets aren’t being met. The aim is to arrive at the most serious of incidents within 10 minutes. This is only achieved in 64% of occasions against a target of 75%, with an average attendance time of 10 minutes and 37 seconds.
What will the Resourcing to Risk model do?
The new model will improve fire appliance availability from 8am to 10pm each day when risk and activity is at its highest. Specifically, the benefits include improved first fire appliance response times, increased resilience for major incidents and equity of pay and conditions for all firefighters.
It will introduce new working patterns with firefighters working day, evening, and night shifts, either on part-time or full-time contracts as well as in surge teams for major incidents and during periods of high demand.
Why isn’t the on-call firefighter model sustainable?
Despite multiple interventions including recruitment campaigns, recruitment of a Community Engagement Officer, using Retained Support Officers to increase station availability and attempts to improve retention, our on-call availability has been falling since 2019. As of September 2023, availability was 34%, meaning there is no guaranteed fire appliance availability other than from wholetime appliances. This is not only a challenge for Warwickshire FRS but also for other services across the UK.
Will there be any redundancies?
Although it’s not our intention, we can’t promise there won’t be any redundancies. We do hope that our on-call firefighters will be able to consider the opportunities that arise from any new working patterns. We will be working closely with our people to explore how we can make any transition as smooth as possible.
Is this about cutting costs?
No – the purpose of the programme is only to make sure we deploy WFRS resources to match where the levels of risk are across the county.
Are you closing fire stations?
The proposed model does not include plans to close any of the current fire stations across Warwickshire.
Have you decided what will happen already?
Absolutely not. We have made a recommendation on a preferred delivery model, but no decisions will be taken until after the public consultation has taken place. This will give everyone an opportunity to comment on the plans, and all the feedback we receive will be carefully considered.
How can I give you my feedback?
The public consultation on the Resourcing to Risk proposal is now live and will remain open until 10 March 2024. Please visit warwickshire.gov.uk/ask where you will find a summary of the reasons for the Resourcing to Risk proposal, the benefits that we believe the proposed approach offers in improving how we keep Warwickshire’s communities and people safe and a link to the online survey.
If you need a paper copy of the survey, or an alternative format or language, please call 01926 410410 or email email@example.com.
You are also welcome to join us at one of five consultation events which are being held in each of Warwickshire’s five district and boroughs. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.