Lives at risk in fire station plans

PLANS to merge Batley and Dewsbury fire stations could put lives at risk, a union boss has claimed.
North Kirklees would lose 24 fulltime firefighters under reform proposals, said Pete Smith, regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union.
The two stations are to merge on a site in Batley Carr as part of wider plans aimed at saving £4m a year due to budget cuts.
They currently have three engines between them. It is proposed to keep them but drop one down to cover peak hours only.
Mr Smith feels it poses a threat to public safety and said: “There will be fewer stations, fewer frontline crews and fewer appliances.
“The service will be spread more thinly. It will take longer to get to 999 calls, meaning a greater risk to lives, homes and businesses.”
Fire chiefs hope to use the cuts as a way to get rid of outdated buildings and reform the service to cope with population shifts.
Bosses claim fires have halved in some areas but they are stuck with the same operating levels from the 1970s.
Mr Smith fears change will leave the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service struggling to live up to its name.
“There will be a reduced chance of carrying out rescues and an increased risk of much greater fire damage,” Mr Smith added.
“Our work as an allround rescue service is going to be hit. The ability to respond to major outdoor fires and flooding will be affected.

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