Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Firefighters' Sheffield town hall protest over cuts to crews

Demonstration at Sheffield Town Hall
Image caption About 200 firefighters were at the lunchtime protest

A protest by about 200 firefighters against plans to cut crew numbers has been held.

South Yorkshire's fire authority has proposed a drop from five to four crew members on each engine as part of plans to save £4m.

The protest at Sheffield town hall was over the potential loss of 84 jobs, said the Fire Brigades Union.

Neil Carbutt, of the union, said the plans would affect the initial response to domestic fires.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said the change was needed to maintain the number of fire engines available in the county.

Firefighters' salaries account for about three quarters of its budget, it has said.

Alex Johnson, deputy chief fire officer, said "I think the public as long as they get a fire engine when they need one will be happy and that's why with the four firefighters instead of five we can continue to send fire engines from the same fire station in the same time frame."

Mr Carbutt, the union's regional secretary, said the cut would make "a massive difference to the initial attack on any kind of domestic fire".

"The national standard for house fires is nine firefighters, that will mean we will have to send more resources and more fire engines leading to increased response times", he added.

The draft proposals are open to public consultation until August, after which the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority is to make the final decision.

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