News : Plan to Shut Shropshire's Fire Control Centre ‘Will Cost Jobs’
July 10, 2014 -- Closing Shropshire's Fire Control Centre would only save half the money bosses claim, and leave the county with fewer life-saving 999 call staff, watch managers have said.
The proposal to move the Shrewsbury-based control room out of the county, and merge it with another 999 call centre, was discussed at the first of a string of public meetings held by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The public consultation meetings are being held to discuss money-saving proposals as the authority has been told it must save another £900,000 by 2020, on top of £3.2m already cut since 2010.
The first, held at Ludlow Fire Station last night, was only attended by a handful of of people, but gave control centre staff a first chance to make their case for keeping the Shrewsbury centre open.
Paul Pryce, watch manager at the Shrewsbury centre, said there were 17 staff there, with three on duty at any one time.
He played a 999 call where watch manager Sandra Thompson talked a woman and her children trapped in a burning house through what to do, staying on the telephone until firefighters arrived.
"In effect Sandra was in that room with that family keeping them safe," he said. "We do provide a life-saving service."
He said if the control room amalgamated with Hereford and Worcester it could halve the number of staff on duty across both areas.
"Another thing that would be lost is local knowledge, where the major roads are, where the major risks are," he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, July 11, 2014