Bedfordshire firefighters thank residents and councillors for helping to save Kempston fire station from downgrading.
Firefighters have thanked local residents and councillors in Bedfordshire for helping to prevent Kempston fire station from being downgraded to part-time.
At a meeting on Wednesday 25 February, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority rejected the move after campaigners argued that the change would have resulted in a significant increase in slower responses to 999 emergencies and greater risk for local communities.
Jamie Newell, Fire Brigades Union secretary for Bedfordshire, said: â€œFirefighters from across the county would like to thank the public and local councillor for their support, and weâ€™re of course proud to continue to support you through the work we do.
â€œThis united campaign from firefighters, members of the community and their local councillors shows the significance and importance of standing together.
â€œBut the fight continues, and we must build more ties within the community to stop other cuts, particularly in Luton and Bedford.â€
Firefighters also argued that downgrading the station would have had particularly severe consequences for the county as a whole, as Bedfordshire is prone to reduced fire cover as a result of a shortage of part-time firefighters and contains many busy roads, such as the M1 and A421.
The proposal formed part of the cuts drawn up by fire chiefs as part of the local serviceâ€™s Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP), which firefighters argue has changed from a way of managing local risk to a way of justifying cuts brought about as a result of reductions in funding from central government.
So far Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have already made up to Â£2.7m of cuts, and although another proposal to change the crewing arrangements at Bedford station was also rejected, two other options remain under consideration.
Firefighters argue that changes to staffing arrangements at fire stations in Luton and Bedford could see the loss of another 16 frontline firefighters and the stationsâ€™ aerial platforms, which firefighters argue are vital for coping with incidents in high rise buildings.
Last week the Mayor of Kempston, Carl Meader, was reported as saying: “The democratic will of the people has won through on this occasion and I would like to pay tribute to the work of all the political parties in Bedford and Kempston.
â€œIt goes to show what we can achieve when we work together.
â€œThere was strong feeling against this proposal and public services can only really succeed if they have the full support of the people. That was clearly lacking in this case and by standing united we have defeated an unpopular plan.â€