Fire chiefs defend chip shop blaze response

FIRE chiefs defended how long it took to reach a Heckmondwike chip shop blaze as being within the guide response time.

Tony Goodhead said firefighters arrived at his Dale Lane Fisheries on July 9 from the new Dewsbury Fire Station at Batley Carr in nine-and-half-minutes.

The fire station on Carlton Road resulted from a merger between Batley and Dewsbury due to budget cuts.

Mr Goodhead believes it would have taken only two or three minutes for fire crews to reach his premises from their old base on Carlinghow Lane, Batley.

A spokeswoman for the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said they aim to attend incidents as quickly as possible.

She added: “We rate West Yorkshire wards in five risk bands – very high, high, medium, low and very low and we locate our fire stations as equitably as possible.

“Fire stations are closer to very high risk areas because these areas are more likely to have serious incidents than very low risk areas.  The details of our risk based planning assumptions are detailed in the Community Risk Management Strategy 2015-20.

“The incident at Dale Lane Fisheries was classed a Life Risk incident in a very low risk ward and as such the guide response time is 11 minutes.”

On Batley Carr being chosen for the merged fire station she said: “Locations for new fire stations are identified through analysis of risk with reference to incident trends.

“Optimum areas are highlighted with consideration of community and firefighter safety.

“Potential sites within the optimum area are assessed against appropriate size of plot available, access to the road network, suitability for a working fire station, such as slope of ground, risk of flooding and nearby electrical infrastructure, and financial considerations.”

On whether Cleckheaton might be better placed for Spen Valley calls she added: “We use Automatic Vehicle Locating Systems (AVLS) to determine where our fire engines are throughout West Yorkshire at the time of the call.

“We mobilise the closest appliance or appliances to all life and property incidents irrespective of which station they are based at.”

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