The following is the text of my letter to the Chief Fire Office at Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service following a suspected case of arson on Simmondley early yesterday and that a fire engine had to be sent from Stalybridge. I campaigned strongly with Glossop residents and the local Fire Brigades Union against the changes to weekend and night cover and have been requesting details of an evaluation of the new system. I was due to meet the Chief Fire Officer in 2 weeks. That won’t be possible as I can’t act as an MP during the election so I have asked for a response about Glossop fire cover that I hope will make sure that the Glossop engine is always available and residents can be reassured.
I understand that there was a fire next to a house on Green Lane in Simmondley, Glossop at around 6.15am yesterday.
Residents have informed me that the fire engine took 30 minutes to arrive and had to come from Stalybridge as there was not an engine available at Glossop Fire Station which is just 3 minutes away.
If this is correct it is obviously very concerning for local residents as you know.
As you are aware, there are several serious hazards in Glossop and residents have been concerned for a long time about the changes to staffing and the remaining cover in the Glossop area, especially at nights and weekends. I understand that retained crews deal with over half of incidents and it is important that staff in such a situation receive the full support that they need. I look forward to hearing from you.
I would be grateful if you could let me know:
1. Why a vehicle and crew from Glossop did not attend the fire in Simmondley.
2. How long it took for a crew to attend and if this was in excess of the 8 minute target, then the reason for this?
3. How many vacancies there are for retained fire crew at Glossop
4. What proportion of weekday night and weekend shifts are fully covered at Glossop?
5. What measures are in place to ensure adequate cover in Glossop when shifts are not fully covered?
6. When the changes to crewing implemented in January are being reviewed to decide whether they are effective?
7. If a review has been carried out, what was the outcome and any recommendations, and when will these be implemented?
I understand that retained crews deal with over half of incidents and it is important that staff in such a situation receive the full support that they need.
I look forward to hearing from you and to being able to reassure the people of Glossop about fire cover in the area.
Ruth George MP
Member of Parliament for High Peak